Monday, October 31, 2011

Octopus in Butternut Squash Soup with Artichoke Hearts and Pearl Onions

Sous Vide Details: Cook Octopus at 185F for 5 hours

Ingredients, Serves 2:
  • 1/2 lb octopus legs (sushi grade if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup pearl onions
  • 3 artichoke hearts cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • Butternut squash soup:
    • 1 butternut squash, skin removed and cut into cubes
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Special tool: hand blender
I've always loved seafood and especially the Molluscs family, including oysters, clams, snails, squid and octopus!  Usually you can see me at a Japanese restaurant with some or all of these in sushi form at my table.  I especially like sushi octopus!  But I decided to try sous vide octopus after seeing a recipe from Jen at, a great foodie blog!  I decided to use artichoke hearts, which my wife loves instead of hearts of palm and since I didn't have cippolini onions handy at the time, I opted for pearl onions.

In order to eliminate the "rubbery" texture of sushi octopus, you need to cook the octopus for at least 5 hours at 185F.  Lightly salt and peppered the octopus and put it into a bag.  Add the sesame seed oil and soy sauce and vacuum seal the bag.  Pre-heat the water bath to 185F and drop the octopus in and cook for 5 hours.

Heat a pot of water until boiling and add the pearl onions.  Cook for 1 minute and remove and strain.  Place the onions in an ice bath to cool them.  Cut off the root top and peel the out skin off so you are left with the inner onion cores.  Set aside.

An hour before the octopus is done, start the butternut squash soup.  Heat the EVO in a large pot on medium high heat.  Add onions and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes.  Add the squash and chicken broth and cook for 20-30 minutes until the squash is soft.  Using the hand blender, puree into a soup. Add the maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste.  Keep warm.

When the octopus is done, heat the grape seed oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat until hot.  Remove the octopus from the water bath and bag and remove the red skin which should come right off.  Sear the octopus, artichoke halves and pearl onions in the skillet until each has a nice sear to them.

For plating, add the squash soup to a wide and shallow soup bowl.  Place the octopus in the center and place the pearl  onions in the center of the octopus.  Add three artichoke halves around the perimeter.  You can add some herb greens on top if you like (chives or cilantro or parsley).  Serve it up!


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