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One of the best things about the recipes in How to Roast a Lamb by Michael Psilakis is that they involve several recipes within recipes. Take this Octopus with Chickpea Salad for example: Not only do you learn how to braise a perfectly fork-tender octopus, but there is also a recipe for a fantastically bitey Red Wine-Black Pepper Vinaigrette and a method for infusing normally pedestrian chickpeas with aromatics that turn them into something worth being enjoyed on their own.

Putting these three components together to make one octopus salad is a recipe for success. The canned garbanzos that went into the Chickpea Confit came out of the oven redolent of cumin and almost buttery from the olive oil that they braised in. The octopus was cooked three times: first seared, then braised, and finally charred for a crunchy exterior and a meaty interior. Fresh herbs, chewy-tart sun-dried tomatoes, and a just tart and peppery enough vinaigrette finished the mix.

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Octopus with Chickpea Salad

About This Recipe

Yield:6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 (4- to 6-pound) octopus, cleaned, whole legs only
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • Blended oil (50 percent canola, 50 percent extra-virgin olive oil), as needed
  • 6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 fresh bay leaves or 4 dry leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 3/4 cups Chickpea Confit (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
  • 1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 8 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
  • 10 large, plump sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thick strips
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup Red Wine-Black Pepper Vinaigrette (recipe follows) or 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Ladolemono (recipe follows)
  • Small handful torn fresh herbs, such as dill, mint, and/or parsley
  • Cloves from 1 head of garlic, separated and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 28-ounce can best-quality chickpeas (such as Goya), well rinsed and well drained
  • Kosher salt and whole black peppercorns
  • Blended oil (50 percent canola, 50 percent extra-virgin olive oil), as needed
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 small grilled onion
  • 6 leaves basil
  • 1 teaspoon picked thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 small garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 shallots, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dry Greek oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dry Greek oregano
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Procedures

  1. 1

    Sear the legs in batches of two, to avoid overcrowding the pan. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Place a large skillet over the highest heat and let it get smoking hot. Film the pan with a little blended oil and add two of the legs, tentacle-side down. Sear, turning, to a reddish brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a Dutch oven or roasting pan and sear the remaining legs, returning the pan to superhot each time.

  2. 2

  3. 3

    Preheat a charcoal or gas grill, or a ridged cast-iron grill pan, until hot. In a large bowl, combine the Chickpea Confit, black-eyed peas, red onion, scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and dill. Season with kosher salt an pepper and drizzle with the Red Wine-Back Pepper Vinaigrette. Toss the salad mixture thoroughly and transfer to a large platter.

  4. 4

    Grill or pan-grill the octopus legs again briefly to char and warm them. Transfer the legs onto the salad. Drizzle the legs generously with Ladolemono and scatter with fresh herbs.

  5. 5

    Chickpea Confit

  6. 6

    - makes about 3 cups -

  7. 7

    In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, combine the garlic, cumin, mustard seeds, and chickpeas. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper, and barely cover with blended oil. Cover pot and cook at 325°F until aromatic but not browned, about 45 minutes.

  8. 8

    When the mixture is cool, transfer it, with all the oil, to a sterilized glass container and use as you like. If the chickpeas are covered with oil, the confit will last for at least 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Always save the oil for another use, for example, in a cumin vinaigrette or for sauteing.

  9. 9

    Red Wine-Black Pepper Vinaigrette

  10. 10

    - makes 1 1/4 cups -

  11. 11

    In a food processor, combine the vinegar, grilled onion, basil, thyme, mustard, garlic, shallots, oregano, salt, and pepper. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until smooth. Add salt and pepper if desired.

  12. 12

    Ladolemono

  13. 13

    - makes about 3/4 cup -

  14. 14

    In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, mustard, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a generous grinding of pepper. Whisk to blend the mixture completely and, whisking all the time, drizzle in the olive oil. This sauce will separate; whisk or shake in a jar before using.

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