Julie Bidwell
Grilled Spanish octopus salad with black garlic aïoli, guanciale, pea shoots, duck fat potatoes & pimentón from chef/owner Brian Lewis of Elm in New Canaan, Connecticut
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Grilled Spanish Octopus Salad with Black Garlic Aïoli, Guanciale, Pea Shoots, Duck Fat Potatoes & Pimentón

Brian Lewis, Elm, New Canaan, Connecticut / November 2012

For 4 servings (requires advance preparation)


  • 1 octopus
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  1. Rinse octopus under cold running water; place on clean work surface; remove head from body; reserve head for another use; place body in a bowl; drizzle 2 Tbsps. oil over; place in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; vacuum seal; cook sous-vide, maintaining water bath at 135°F, until cooked through; remove bag from water bath; place in ice water bath; cool; reserve.

  2. Heat a grill to high.

  3. Remove bag from ice water bath; remove body from bag; reserve cooking liquid for another use, if desired; place tentacles on clean work surface; gently peel away suction cups; reserve suction cups for frying; place tentacles in a bowl; drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsps. oil; season; grill octopus until lightly charred; remove from grill; cut on bias into 1/2" pieces, leaving tips 2" long.

Black garlic aïoli:

  • 1/2 cup black garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 lg. egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. squid ink
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Place all ingredients except oils, salt, and pepper in a blender; blend until smooth; with motor running, gradually add oils; blend until emulsified and fully incorporated; season; place in airtight container; cover; set aside.

Lemon oil:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons, finely grated

Mix oil and zest in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature 1 day.

Calabrian chile oil:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lg. Calabrian chile (or other fresh hot red chile), finely chopped

Mix oil and chile in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature 1 day.

Duck fat potatoes:

  • 1 lb. fingerling potatoes
  • 2 qts. rendered duck fat, at room temperature
  • 3 heads garlic, split crosswise
  • 1 bunch French thyme, tied into bundle

Bring all ingredients to a boil in heavy-bottomed saucepan; reduce heat to medium; gently simmer until potatoes are tender; remove from heat; reserve in duck fat (keep warm).

Wilted pea shoots:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup pea shoots
  • kosher salt
  • shichimi togarashi

Heat oil in sauté pan set over medium heat; add pea shoots; season; add shichimi togarashi; cook 30 seconds; remove from heat; place on platter; reserve (keep warm).


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 Tbsp. pimentón
  • salt
  • 1/2 lb. guanciale, thinly sliced, crisped in a skillet
  1. Heat oil and butter in heavy-bottomed sauté pan; add panko; cook, stirring occasionally, until brown; add pimentón; season; remove from heat; spread out on baking sheet lined with paper towels; cool; place in airtight container; reserve.

  2. To serve, spread 1 Tbsp. black garlic aïoli down each plate with offset spatula; place warm potatoes, octopus, pea shoots, guanciale, 2 Tbsp. pimentón bread crumbs, 1 tsp. lemon olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. calabrian chile oil in nonreactive bowl; season; toss to combine; arrange over aïoli on each plate.

What to drink: Guido Marsella Fiano di Avellino 2008