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
    Courtesy of Fern Restaurant, St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico

    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.

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    Ingredients
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    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
    Step 1
    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.
    Step 2
    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.
    Step 3
    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.
    Step 4
    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.
    Step 5
    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.
    Step 6
    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.
    Photos

    Nutrition Facts

    Serving Size: 
    Serving Per Recipe: 
    10
    0
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    145 mins
    Prep Time: 
    30 mins
    Cook Time: 
    115 mins
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    The base number of servings for this recipe is 10
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