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Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Black Pepper Octopus with Sweet Onions and Ají Dulce

Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Black Pepper Octopus with Sweet Onions and Ají Dulce

This delicate grilled octopus recipe was developed by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten for his restaurant, Fern, located at St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. It is one of the restaurant's best-selling dishes and with tender grilled octopus, a black pepper sauce and a bright hit of tarragon puree, it's easy to see why.


Ingredients
For the Blanched Octopus
3
2 1/2-pound octopus, massaged with 1/2 ounce salt, rinsed and deslimed
2 3/4
ounces
kosher salt
1 1/2
ounces
Japanese rice wine vinegar
For the Braised Octopus Legs
10 1/2
ounces
julienned white onion
1 3/4
ounces
Olive Oil
5 1/2
ounces
sake
*
Blanched octopus legs, from above
7
ounces
soy sauce
1 1/2
ounces
sugar
1 1/2
ounces
fresh lime juice
1 1/2
ounces
scallions, white part only, charred
3/4
ounce
Sichuan peppercorns
3/4
ounce
garlic cloves, charred
1
red Thai chile, split
For the Black Pepper Condiment
8
ounces
Grapeseed oil
10
ounces
ginger, minced
8
ounces
garlic, minced
2
pounds
scallions, sliced
6
ounces
black peppercorns, crushed
6
cups
sweet soy sauce
1
pound
sugar
1 1/2
cups
light soy sauce
1 1/4
cups
fresh lime juice
4
ounces
fermented black beans, rinsed, squeezed, and chopped
1
ounce
kosher salt
For the Tarragon Puree
10 1/2
ounces
shallot, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 1/2
ounces
extra virgin olive oil
1/4
ounce
salt
3 1/2
ounces
tarragon leaves, blanched, shocked and squeezed dry
For the Lime Vinaigrette
5 1/4
ounces
fresh lime juice
3 1/2
ounces
Olive Oil
1/4
ounce
kosher salt
For the Onion Salad
1 3/4
ounces
Kula onions, shaved
1
ounce
ají dulce, shaved
1/2
ounce
Lime vinaigrette, from above
1/2
ounce
lime segments
1
dash
each salt and pepper
*
Olive Oil
*
kosher salt
*
Tarragon leaves, for garnish
Directions
Blanch the octopus by bringing 6 quarts of water, salt and rice wine vinegar to boil. Dangle the octopus by the head and swirl the legs in the blanching liquid for 30 seconds; then place the entire octopus in the liquid and simmer for 10 minutes. Take the octopus out and shock in ice water. When cool, cut the legs from the body and reserve.
Braise the octopus: Sweat the onion in the olive oil until tender. Then, deglaze the pan with the sake. Add the remaining ingredients, 1 quart water, the octopus legs, and bring to a slow simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until octopus legs are tender.
For the black pepper condiment: Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until golden. Then add the scallions and cook over medium heat until soft. Add the black peppercorns and cook until very fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8 minutes or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and puree until coarsely ground.
For the tarragon puree: Combine the shallots, extra virgin olive oil, and salt in a pot and cook on medium heat, covered, until shallots are completely soft but have no color. Drain the oil. Cool in a bowl over ice, then put in blender with tarragon and puree until completely smooth. Store in a squeeze bottle.
Prepare the onion salad by putting the onions and ají dulce in a small bowl and seasoning with olive oil, lime segments, salt and pepper.
Heat a grill over high heat and oil the grill grates. Toss octopus legs with olive oil and salt and char on grill until hot throughout. Place the hot octopus legs in a bowl and toss with Black Pepper Condiment until coated. Place a line of the onion salad on the left side of a plate and top with the octopus legs in a row. Put a dollop of tarragon puree next to the octopus and swipe with a spoon. Garnish octopus with tarragon leaves and serve.

The base number of servings for this recipe is 10
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