Captain Nemo: Ah, we’re almost at the island of Crespo. All this was once an island. Although it is now sunk, it is nevertheless fertile. We do our hunting and farming here.
Professor Pierre Aronnax: Underwater?
Captain Nemo: The sea supplies all my wants.
– from Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)
SPANISH OCTOPUS, CHORIZO, FAVA BEANS
fried fingerling potatoes & castelvetrano olive sauce
for 4 appetizer servings:
2-3 small octopuses, cleaned and segmented
1 cup of fava beans, taken out of their pods
1 link of sweet dry chorizo, cut into coins
16 fingerling potatoes
1 cup of bright green Castelvetrano olives, pits removed
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Bring 10 cups of water to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the octopus. Simmer for about an hour until the octopus is very tender. Remove from stove and let the octopus cool to near room temperature in the braising liquid. Next, combine the olives, parsley, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth and set aside. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer and add the fingerling potatoes. Using a strainer and a lid, steam the shelled fava beans over the water about 8-10 minutes. Remove the potatoes and drain. Run the fava beans under cold water and drain. Peel the bean’s shell off and retain only the bright green fava bean. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and add the chorizo to flavor the oil. Smash the fingerling potatoes slightly and fry them along with the chorizo. Remove the chorizo coins to avoid burning. Continue frying the potatoes until golden brown and nicely crisped. Finally, drain and dry the octopus. Coat with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle on the stove-top. Add the octopus pieces and grill until slightly charred, no more than 2 minutes. Remove from heat. To assemble, spoon the olive sauce onto the plate and stack 4 fingerling potatoes over them. Layer the chorizo and fava beans over this along with one serving of octopus. Finish the dish with a squeeze of lemon juice and some sea salt.