Friday 9 October 2015

Grilled octopus with truffle potato puree

• 10 minutes to prepare • 1 hour to cook  • Serves 4

The diamonds of the kitchen

It's still warm but it's already time to think about the truffle season.
From this weekend to the middle of November, the Piemonte White Truffle Fair of Alba welcomes us again. Two months of headlights on the territory of Alba, Langhe and Roero which have been recently included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Unfortunately, this year - due to the summer drought - truffles are going to be less and more pricy.

Although times of crisis certainly do not allow excessively expensive purchases, we can't give up truffle taste at all. If we are cunning enough, there is no need to spend a heresy.
One way to do so consists in buying some truffle-flavored oil: few drops are able to revolutionise our recipes, to enrich both meat and fish based dishes...and it basically lasts forever!

Today we will employ it to season a soft potato puree, the perfect companion of some tasty and crispy grilled octopus tentacles.

Here's what you will need for the 4-serving recipe:

1 kg octopus
1 kg small potatoes
1 carrot
1 onion
1 branch celery
EVO oil
truffle-flavored oil
salt and pepper

  1. Start by cooking the octopus:drop it in boiling, unsalted, water and make it cook for about 30 minutes, covering the pan with a lid and lowering the heat to the minimum. Cooking time depends on the size of the octopus, so consider this time as indicative. The best way to see if the octopus is ready is to skewer it with a fork, in the point where its tentacles are connected to the head: if the fork enters it easily, the octopus is al dente
  2. When the octopus is cooked, turn off the heat and let it cool in its cooking water
  3. Meanwhile, we can prepare the truffle potato puree: pour 500 ml of water in a large pot and add cleaned vegetables (carrot, celery, onion) and salt. Bring to boil
  4. Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly. As soon as the water boils, pour them into the boiling broth and let them cook until they become soft
  5. Drain and blend boiled potatoes until you obtain a dense cream. Season it with 2 tablespoons of truffle-flavored oil and a pinch of salt. Keep warm
  6. Remove the octopus from the water, and put it on a cutting board. Remove excess skin and cut the tentacles just below their junction to the body. We want to obtain pieces with a nice curl at the end of the tentacle!
  7. Take a grill pan grid, the one you normally use for steaks, preferably non-stick. Grease it lightly with EVO oil and put it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place the octopus on it, add a pinch of salt, and cook it for about 10 minutes, turning it so that the heat reaches it uniformly
  8. Finally, we just need to arrange our serving plates: spread the truffle potato cream in 2 plates and lay in the middle octopus grilles tentacles. Grind some more pepper on top, garnish with a few drops of truffle oil and then bring it to the table

Nutrition Facts are listed for this recipe in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

The truffle is nothing else but an agglomeration of elementary earth
(Pliny, Book XIX. The nature and cultivation of flax, and an account of various garden plants)

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