Noun: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way:
You know when you set out to do something then end up with a vastly different outcome? Well, my intention was to produce two distinct dishes, both featuring octopus. But inspiration struck and something new was created
I had read about octopus+lavender in a cookbook by Sigrid Verbert, and was planning to serve that as a second course, after my other recipe for black rice and octopus. A sunday lunch al fresco with friends and family called for something special, right?
I had Sigrid’s book open on page 88 at Pulpo alla Galliega, waiting for hubby (bless him and his OCD tendencies) to hand me clean, ready to cook fish. On the stove was a pot of boiling water in which I would quickly blanch the octopus, before cutting it up and finish the cooking in a sautee pan. BUT!
Sometimes, contingency begets opportunity:
The black rice that was supposed to become a risotto with cherry tomatoes and garlic butter sauteed seafood, on beholding the blanching pot where the fish had surrendered much of its essence, and next to it a bouquet garni of sage and lavender, suddenly changed its vocation and reinvented itself in a new ensemble of delicate lilac pinks and chic, deep plum. Think how that would look on a clear, spring day. Lunching with friends under cherry trees in bloom. WOW, right?
2 medium octopusses
3-4 leaves of fresh sage
1 sprig of fresh lavender, of a pinch of dried flowers
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, slivered
EV olive oil, a spoon
black rice for 6 (it takes about 30 minutes to cook)
Clean the octopus and put it aside. Bring a big pot of water to boil and blanch the fish in it: 10 seconds then out. Put it in a bowl of cold water. Wait for the pot to reach boiling point again. Dunk it in again. Repeat the process one more time.
Cut off the curly tentacles and set them aside (they look oh so nice on top of the pile of black rice!), cut up the rest in bite size chunks and put them in a glass bowl rightaway, since they tend to leak a lot of their savory juices. but do not fear! it will come in handy later..
In the meanwhile, use the blanching water to cook the black rice, adjust the salt level if needed. It will take about 30 minutes.
Nel frattempo, cuocere il riso venere nell’acqua di cottura del polpo aggiustata di sale, ci vorranno circa 40 minuti..
In a small saucepan, sautee the minced shallot with olive oil, over a slow flame. Add the garlic slivers, sage and lavender. After about 20 seconds, pour a ladle of the rice cooking water in (it will be DARK and mysterious at this point, from the black rice bleeding into it). Reduce the concoction.
Heat a large, heavy sautee pan, and quickly cook the cut up octopus. Add the Sage/Shallot/Lavender infusion and then transfer the whole thing into a blender and puree. Or use an immersion blender. You can thin things out with some more of the black rice water, and make sure to check for adequate saltiness.
When the rice is ready, drain thoroughly and toss with some olive oil so it shines and becomes even more yummy.
Prepare your dishes thusly: first a layer of the lilic pink octopus and herbs puree, a smalle pile of black rice, a few curly tentacles on top, and a sprinkle of the best olive oil you can find as a final touch.
Enjoy! We certainly did