This lesson’s focus is making a dish with a classic combination of ingredients: potatoes, romesco sauce, and octopus. You will learn how to poach the octopus and sauté it, and you will also learn techniques for preparing bread and potatoes to go with it.
Poached Octopus with Fingerling Potatoes and Romesco Sauce
Yield: 12 portions
•4.5 lb octopus, whole, thawed
•1 ltr red wine
•1 cup red wine vinegar
•chicken stock, as needed
•salt, to taste
• herb stems
•60 ea olives
•36 fingerling potatoes,cut on bias and slow roasted
•romesco sauce, as needed (supplemental recipe)
•salt, to taste
•black pepper, to taste Romesco sauce
• 500 g red bell peppers
• 500 g tomatoes, canned
•100 g bread
• 2 ea garlic cloves
•1 C almonds, toasted
•1 T Espelette
•30 g parsley, chopped
•salt and pepper, to taste
•thyme, as needed
•extra virgin olive oil,as needed
Cooking Method: Octopus
To begin cooking the octopus, prepare a large stockpot by adding red wine, red wine vinegar, herb stems, and salt. Bring a separate pot of water to a boil, and then reduce heat.
Hold the octopus by the head and dip its legs into the water three times. Transfer to the pot with the red wine mixture and add enough stock to cover. Bring to a gentle simmer.
Instead of a lid, cover the octopus pot with a cartouche. Maintain a temperature of approximately 175 degrees, and do not boil. Cook the octopus until it is fork-tender, which will take approximately 90 to 105 minutes. Do not throw away the liquid.
Cooking Method: Romesco Sauce
The next step is to begin the romesco sauce. Place a whole red bell pepper in a bowl, then toss it in oil to coat the pepper with a small amount of oil. Set it on a grill or gas burner on high. Blacken it completely on the outside. This should take about five minutes. Turn the pepper as needed. While you’re waiting on the pepper to roast, you can check on the octopus.
At this stage, you can prepare a baguette by toasting the bread. Do not put olive oil on it before toasting. Instead, rub garlic on the bread’s surface, and then put the bread on a pan and broil it at 450 degrees.
While the bread is toasting, gather tomatoes, espelette, parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes, and almonds. Meanwhile, remove the top and bottom off of the charred pepper. Remove the burned skin as well as the ribs and seeds.
Take the bread out of the oven. It should be slightly charred and dry. Break the bread up and add it to the blender along with the other gathered ingredients. Blend this with the lid off, slowly adding oil. Push down with a spoon. Blend again for a minute or two, and then add salt and pepper before placing the lid on and blending once more at high speed. Once the sauce is ready, transfer to a saucepan, cover, and warm it to 120 degrees.
Cooking Method: Potatoes
Check the octopus once more, and then start the potatoes. The video lesson uses Russian banana fingerling potatoes, which are good multipurpose potatoes. Cut them on a bias. Put oil in a pan on high heat. Wait for a shimmer to appear in the oil, then add the potatoes with their cut sides down. Season the potatoes with salt and black pepper. Cook them in this way until they have a golden brown color. After that, roast the potatoes in an oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until they are completely fork-tender.
Check on the octopus one more time. You can test it with a knife, which will meet no resistance when the octopus is ready. Once it is ready, lift it by the head onto a cutting board. Remove the head and flip the octopus over, and then remove the beak and brain with a V-cut.
Heat oil in a pan to sauté. Warm the romesco sauce in a pot. Check on the potatoes: They should be hot and completely tender. Be careful, as the pan’s handle will be very hot.
The oil in the sauté pan should develop a shimmer. It shouldn’t become smoky, but it should get close to that point. Make sure the bottom of the pan is completely coated in oil. Put the octopus in the pan for 10 seconds before you move it, giving it a shake to make sure nothing sticks. After roughly 90 seconds, the octopus will be ready to plate.
Drop one or two dollops of romesco sauce on a plate and make a swoosh. Add three potatoes, then top with octopus. Finish with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to serve.