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Cocktail Recipes

Braised Octopus in Tomato-Cumin-Fennel Broth

Braised Octopus in Tomato-Cumin-Fennel Broth

Octopus tentacle might not be dominating American menus, but this seafood dish a hallmark of Southern Italian and Spanish cuisine. While this mollusk might be a new dinner item for your kitchen, it’s much easier to cook than you think! This hot roasted tomato and fennel broth is perfect for the cold nights of autumn when this recipe was originally posted, but it can also be a delightful entree for Spring evenings!.

There are two different routes you can take with octopus: pre-cooked or raw. Which one I use often depends on availability. I can find raw octopus at my local asian market, but there are times when cooked varieties are the only tentacles available. When using pre-cooked octopus, be sure to cut the cook time way down to avoid an aggressively rubbery texture.

The first step to creating this recipe is to marinade the octopus tentacles in a mix of finely minced fennel bulb, olive oil, fennel seed, cumin seeds, red pepper flake, shaved garlic, and parsley. Combine tentacles with herbs, spices, and oils in a ziplock bag and massage together to be sure the tentacles are well covered. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before cooking, but preferably closer to 6 hours.

Roast tomatoes and garlic on a sheet pan in the oven at 400º for about 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes caramelize slightly and the garlic is fully roasted.

I like to use ripe Roma tomatoes for this recipe because of their slightly sweet flavor and thinner skins. However, any whole tomato will work perfectly for this dish!

While your tomatoes are roasting, chop half of a large sweet onion into large slices. After the tomatoes and garlic have roasted, set them to the side until cooled.

Add 1 tbsp oil to a large pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and coat in the oil, gently frying until they become translucent. Remove the roasted garlic from their paper skins and add to the pan with the onions. (Roasted garlic tends to form a paste texture during the roasting process, so I like to use a spoon for this!)

Sauté the garlic and onions until onions begin to slightly brown on the edges. Deglaze the pan with white cooking wine and scrape any blackened bits from the bottom of the pan. Using you hands, crush the roasted tomatoes and add to the pan with the onions and garlic.

Stir often and cook down the tomato for about 3 minutes. Add stock and bring broth to a light boil.

Once your broth is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for about 10-12 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, red pepper flake, and cumin to taste.

Remove octopus from your ziplock bag, and season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tbsp of oil from the marinade into a hot cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sear octopus on both sides for about 3 minutes each—using a separate skillet to press the octopus will help get a harder char on each side.

Once octopus has been charred on either side, remove it from the cast iron and place it into the hot simmering tomato broth. Be sure to cover the tentacle completely in liquid. Cook on low, covered, until done and tender, about 45-60 minutes.

Place Octopus in the middle of the plate and spoon hot broth over the meat. Garnish with a fennel strand and chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread and crispy potatoes or a crisp green salad and white wine!

Octopus Braised in Tomato-Cumin-Fennel Broth

2 lbs octopus tentacles

1/2 small fennel bulb, finely minced

1 bulb garlic, whole

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4-5 ripe roma tomatoes, halved

1/2 sweet onion, roughly chopped into large pieces

2 cups vegetable or seafood stock

1/4 cup white cooking wine

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seed

1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

salt/pepper/cumin/smoked paprika/red pepper flake, to taste

  1. Marinade the octopus tentacles in a mix of finely minced fennel bulb, olive oil, fennel seed, cumin seeds, red pepper flake, shaved garlic, and parsley. Combine tentacles with herbs, spices, and oils in a ziplock bag and massage together to be sure the tentacles are well covered. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before cooking, but preferably closer to 6 hours.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet with garlic in the middle. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt. Roast tomatoes and garlic on a sheet pan in the oven at 400º for about 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes caramelize slightly and the garlic is fully roasted.
  3. While your tomatoes are roasting, thickly chop half of a large sweet onion. This tomato broth relies on large pieces of onion to give it more texture, so be sure to stay away from finely chopped onion this time! After the tomatoes and garlic have roasted, set them to the side until cooled.
  4. Add 1 tbsp oil to a large pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and coat in the oil, gently frying until they become translucent. Remove the roasted garlic from their paper skins and add to the pan with the onions.
  5. Sauté the garlic and onions until onions begin to slightly brown on the edges. Deglaze the pan with white cooking wine and scrape any blackened bits from the bottom of the pan. Using you hards, crush the roasted tomatoes and add to the pan with the onions and garlic.
  6. Stir often and cook down the tomato for about 3 minutes. Add stock and bring broth to a light boil.
  7. Once your broth is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, on the back burner. Season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, red pepper flake, and cumin to taste.
  8. Remove octopus from your ziplock bag, and season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tbsp of oil from the marinade into a hot cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  9. Sear octopus on both sides for about 3-5 minutes each—using a separate skillet to press the octopus will help get a harder char on the mollusk.
  10. Remove it from the cast iron and place it into the hot simmering tomato broth. Be sure to cover the tentacle completely in liquid. Cook on medium-low, covered, until done and tender, about 1 hour.
  11. Place Octopus in the middle of the plate and spoon hot broth over the meat. Garnish with a fennel strand and chopped parsley.
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Manhattans Three Ways

Manhattans Three Ways
The Manhattan is a pre-prohibition cocktail consisting of three basic ingredients: whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. The proportions are also ideal for the home bartender—all you need is twice as much whiskey as vermouth (called a 2:1 parts ratio) and a few dashes of angostura and voila! You have a professional cocktail before you. Check out these three Manhattans to enjoy this week at home! Continue reading

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue
This version of a Fogcutter is given a breath of fresh acid with the addition of a house-made blueberry shrub and updated with a split between five different bottles—so be careful drinking this one! Continue reading

Venus Rising

Venus Rising

I've started something new on Instagram—a monthly challenge of letting my followers vote on random ingredients that I only have the week to develop. While I'm sure I'll eventually end up with a few flips, I'm extremely happy with what came of this month's combination! This challenge was centered around a shaken cocktail that had to include mezcal, lemon, kiwi, and coconut. 

I wanted to keep it firmly in the tropical category to fit into the theme of cocktail classes, so this cocktail follows the traditional formula for a Saturn cocktail with a few key tweaks: mezcal instead of gin, kiwi instead of passionfruit, and a toasted coconut orgeat! 

Venus Rising 

2 oz Mezcal

.75 oz Lemon Juice

.5 oz Kiwi Syrup

.25 oz Toasted Coconut Orgeat 

.25 oz Falernum 

1. Add mezcal, lemon juice, orgeat, kiwi syrup, and falernum to a cocktail shaker with ice. 

2. Shake well for about 30 seconds until well chilled. 

3. Double strain through a fine sieve into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice or over one large ice cube. 

4. Using a thin zester, carefully cut a very long strip of skin from a lemon. Curl the peel around a bar spoon to create a long tail and wind over the top of the drink. Enjoy! 

Kiwi Syrup

2 Kiwis, peeled 

.5 Cups Rich Simple Syrup

.25 Tsp Powdered Citric Acid 

1. Supreme off the hairy outside of the kiwi and quarter the remaining fruit. 

2. In a food processor, pulse the fruit until almost liquified, about one minute. 

3. Strain the puree well into a small bowl, careful to remove as much of the ground black seeds as possible. (You should have .5 cups of puree after straining.) 

4. Add citric acid to the bowl with syrup and whisk everything together. (You want to match your amount of syrup to puree. If you have less than .5 cups kiwi puree, adjust your portion of syrup accordingly.) 

5. Store chilled for up to two weeks!

Toasted Coconut Orgeat 

You can find my recipe for toasted coconut orgeat on my patreon! You are also welcome to substitute a store bough variety if you'd like!

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Sherry Sour

Sherry Sour

Sherry and tequila are one of my favorite combinations, whether it’s shaken with lime or stirred in a Negroni riff. Sweet, sour, nutty, and dry, this version of a sherry sour has added complexity from falernum, a clove and lime flavored liqueur hailing from the Caribbean.

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Kombucha Colada

Kombucha Colada
Enjoy your favorite flavors without any of the booze! This Kombucha Colada is a sweet-and-sour mixture of creamy coconut, pineapple, zesty lime, and tangy passionfruit to create the perfect 0% ABV colada. Continue reading

Corpse Revived!

3/4 oz Jägermeister Cold Brew

3/4 oz Lillet Blanc

3/4 oz Grand marnier

3/4 oz lime

bar spoon Simple Syrup

Orange Peel
1. Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker tin with ice.

2. Shake well, about 30 seconds.

3. Double strain into a coupe glass. garnish with orange peel and enjoy!

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