octopus, oregano; potato, wild garlic, purple micro greens


hello old friends


It had been almost 5 years since I had cooked octopus. It had been an occasional treat for a number of years before that; it was probably my enthusiasm for local ingredients that has caused me to neglect it since.

Yesterday my enthusiasm for octopus overcame the locavore in me.

I had been unable to purchase or enjoy any seafood yesterday because of our schedule; today (Tuesday), because there is no greenmarket offering fish anywhere in Manhattan at least, I headed for The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market, hoping to find something which not available from the fishers who sell their catch in Union Square.

I bought 4 small Spanish octopuses (yes, they had been previously frozen, but so is all the wild salmon available to us on the east coast, and that doesn’t stop me). Unfortunately the rich ocean life of the northwestern Atlantic does not include octopus, and I’m very fond of octopus.

I prepared them much as I always had in the past.  They were delicious, as always.

  • four baby octopuses (in 2 sizes, totaling 12 ounces) from The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market, marinated for about an hour and a half in chopped garlic from John D. Madura Farm, oil, local lemon zest and juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, crushed dried red pepper, dried Italian oregano and sea salt, then drained, pan-grilled whole on high heat for an average of 4 minutes on each side, finished with a squeeze of the same lemon, olive oil and fresh chopped oregano from Stokes Farm
  • red Norland potatoes from Lucky Dog Organic Farm (very sweet at this time of the year), scrubbed, boiled in salted water unpeeled, halved, tossed with olive oil and chopped wild garlic from Lani’s Farm, sprinkled with purple radish micro greens from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was an Italian (Umbria) white, Santa Cristina Umbria 2012 [the link is to the 2014 vintage] from Philippe Liquors
  • the music was works by Esa Pekka-Salonen, from the album, ‘Meet the Composer-Conductor