Spring is in the air, and what better way to celebrate this special season than with an al fresco dinner party with some of your closest friends.
This season I've devised a “mash-up” of High Southern food standards with slightly elevated, healthier Mediterranean fare to create an entirely new genre of exciting cuisine I'm calling “Medi-South”
Charred Baby Octopus with Olives, Pickled Peppers, and Fresh Basil Oil is used as a salad of sorts, melding sexy, exotic octopus with briny, green and black olives, alongside southern inspired pickled peppadew peppers. We procure the small, baby octopus from Richard’s Meat Market, then straight into a boiling pot of white wine and chicken stock for a quick poach, let’s say three minutes, before cooling in the fridge with a marinade of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, fresh basil, salt and pepper.
After at least three hours resting in the chilled citrus bath, we “quick char” the tentacles on high heat, using a heavy press or cast iron skillet to compress the seafood against the grates.
Careful not to over-cook here, we only want a tiny bit of char on the arms. Serve the octopus with an accompaniment of olives from Wholefoods, pickled red peppadew peppers, roasted garlic cloves, fresh basil leaves, and a generous drizzle of pesto olive oil.