I have to say that I was never the biggest fan of surf and turf until I discovered the magical combo of beef and octopus. This dish combines a spicy tender braised short rib that is crisped in a searing hot pan, with charred octopus that has been poached in a flavorful broth. The light but bold salsa verde elevates the dish my bringing herbaceous notes and a sharp bite.
I made this dish for the finale Surf and Turf dish on the Taste. Chef Waxman taught me his salsa verde, so I made mine a touch different, but it is inspired by a true legend.
As always, this is meant to inspire. Perhaps you cook just the octopus, or the short rib... but the salsa verde is a must. Enjoy in good health!
Crispy Short Rib + Seared Octopus
Short Rib - serves 4
· Short Rib – 6 lbs (with bone)
o Cumin – 3 tbsp
o Smoked Paprika – 1 tbsp
o Togarashi – 2 tbsp
o Paprika – 1 tbsp
o Brown Sugar – 3 tbsp
o Fennel Seed – 1 tbsp
o Salt – 2 tbsp
· Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
· Beef Stock – 1 quart
· Lemongrass – 2 stalks (prepped)
· Thai Bird Chili – 2 each
· Onion – 1 each cut into large chuncks
· Tomato paste – 2 tbsp
· Fish Sauce – 1/8 cup
· Cilantro – stems of 1 bunch
· Thyme – ½ bunch
Rub the short ribs with the spice rub and let sit for up to 1 day.
In a hot pan sear every side of the short rib until it is brown. A little bit of burning is ok, it is just the sugar in the rub.
Next place all the short ribs in a high walled roasting pan after searing.
When finished searing add tomato paste and onion to the same pan and let cook. De-glaze the searing pan with some stock. Add the remaining ingredients into the pan. The liquid should go almost to the top of the meat. Add aromatics on top. Taste the braising liquid to see if it needs more seasoning. It should not be too salty as it will reduce and get stronger.
Cover with tinfoil and put into 275 degree oven for about 3 hours or until tender.
Remove the meat, strain the sauce and begin to reduce it over medium heat. When it is the desired flavor use as sauce. You can thicken the sauce by making a slurry with corn starch (2 tbsp each) Do this by mixing corn starch and water, whisk into the sauce. When it comes to a boil it will thicken.
To serve the short rib – remove it and sear in an hot pan on all sides. Add some braising liquid to then glaze the meat.
Octopus Serves 4
· Octopus - 1 each (large) 3-4 lbs
· Chicken Stock – 1 quart
· Red wine – 2 cups
· Thyme – ½ bunch
· Lemon – ½ each
· Onion – ½ sliced
· Garlic – 2 cloves
· Sachet d’espice
o Black pepper – 1 tbsp
o Star anise – 1 each
o Corriander – ½ tbsp
If you get a whole octopus, make sure you clean it. Press on the head to the belly removing the black dot (it is a hard alien looking structure) in the center of the underside. Rub the octopus with salt and a little water vigorously for 5 min. The water should froth. Rinse.
In a pot put the stock and all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Give the liquid a taste, it should be very flavorful.
Add the octopus to the liquid. Keep it submerged by putting a plate on top. Simmer for 1 ½ hours and check tenderness. It should be very tender. If it needs more time simmer for an additional 15 min. Remove from the liquid and let dry.
Cut the octopus into pieces. I like to cut each tentacle into 2 pieces. Make sure you eat the body too!
To serve, sear the octopus in a hot pan with olive oil on all sides until crispy.
· Garlic – 1 clove minced
· Shallot – ½ each minced
· Anchovy – 1 each
· Capers – 2 tbsp
· Red Pepper Flake – 2 tsp
· Parsley – ½ cup picked then mince
· Tarragon – ½ bunch
· Mint – ¼ cup picked then minced
· Olive Oil - ½ cup
· Lemon Juice – juice of 2 lemons
· Salt and pepper to taste
Building this sauce on the board, start by mincing the garlic and shallot. Add in the anchovy and capers. Add a touch of salt and olive oil to lubricate the ingredients. Continue mincing and add in the parsley, tarragon and then mint. Add the red pepper and rest of ingredients. Move the mixture to a bowl and add more olive oil and lemon. Season with salt and pepper.
Who knew that a cow and an octopus could be friends? I guess salsa verde just brings people, or animals together.