Gallery: Behind the Scenes with Javier Plascencia Cooking Octopus and Cow Udder in Tijuana

Octopus and Udder
Octopus and Udder

One of Mision 19's most iconic and popular items is the octopus and udder dish (listed as grilled octopus on the menu). Local octopus is sous-vided, marinated, and grilled, along with cow udder, cherry tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, and fresh garbanzo beans.

Octopus Marinade
Octopus Marinade

An earthy mix of pimento and serrano peppers, garlic, cilantro, and extra virgin olive oil from the Guadalupe Valley coats the octopus, sinking into the flesh and imbuing it with flavor.

Plancha
Plancha

The octopus gets grilled on the hot plancha (or flattop), until it's crisp on the outside.

Octopus, Ready
Octopus, Ready

The finished octopus is flecked with tasty bits of char, a key flavor component of this dish and many others at Mision 19.

Potatoes and Tomatoes
Potatoes and Tomatoes

Fingerling potatoes get browned up in some extra virgin olive oil and garlic, and are joined by fresh garbanzo beans, plus cherry tomatoes from a local farm near Ensenada. The tomatoes cook down, releasing their juices. Before removing the pan from the heat, a few cubes of butter are added to thicken the sauce.

Cow Udder
Cow Udder

The cow udder, or "ubre", is grilled. This cut is a bit like the beef equivalent of pork belly. It's rich and fatty, and when grilled, the exterior crisps up nicely.

Dressing the Octopus
Dressing the Octopus

The grilled octopus gets a drizzle of habanero oil next to the fermented black garlic.

Spooning on the Sauce
Spooning on the Sauce

The potatoes and tomatoes go on next, followed by spoons of the thickened sauce.

Seasoning
Seasoning

The dish is finished with crumbled pistachios and a pinch of fennel pollen.

Final Touches
Final Touches

Tiny purple chive flowers and sprigs of cilantro go on last.

Torching the Salsify
Torching the Salsify

A segment of peeled salsify root is seasoned and torched to get it good and charred.

Torching the Beets
Torching the Beets

Par-baked beets are also torched, crisping up the exterior and covering it with tasty bits of blackened char.

Dressing the Salad
Dressing the Salad

The torched beets and salsify go in a squat canning jar and are topped with finely diced cured cactus petals and flor de mayo beans.

Huitlacoche and Oil
Huitlacoche and Oil

Huitlacoche sand and a drizzle of local olive oil go on last.

Smoking
Smoking

The salad gets a quick hit of smoke from the smoke machine. After smoking, the lid on the jar is clasped shut, trapping the smoke inside.

The Scent of Smoke
The Scent of Smoke

When you flip the top of the vessel at your table, the smoke is released into the air, right under your nose.

Cheese Sauce
Cheese Sauce

A rich, fondue-like cheese sauce is poured over the salad table-side, completing the dish. That little vessel had some extremely intense flavors, from the luxurious cheese sauce to the charred veggies, but mostly from the huitlacoche sand, which imparted salty, musty flavors, making the dish taste like it was tinged with truffles.

Tuna prep
Tuna prep

Local yellowfin tuna is cut into cubes.

Bone Marrow
Bone Marrow

The bone marrow get heated up on the stove, and seasoned with a bit of lemon.

Seasoning the Tuna
Seasoning the Tuna

The cubes of tuna are cooked ceviche-style in a yellow chile pepper sauce, with habanero, onion, mushrooms, and cilantro. This dish is inspired by a yellow pepper and scallion sauce that Chinese immigrants to the area popularized among Mexican locals.

Placing the Tuna
Placing the Tuna

The tender cubes of yellowtail are placed on the roasted bone marrow, which sits on a vessel full of salt.

Avocado Meringue
Avocado Meringue

Refreshing avocado meringue gets piped on top of the tuna.

Accoutrements
Accoutrements

The fish is topped with sea beans, amaranth, burnt chile powder (made from serrano and habanero chiles), and crunchy sourdough croutons.

Ready to Eat
Ready to Eat

The completed dish is one of Plascencia's elevated surf and turf options, featuring an unusual combination of seafood and meat elements.