Cooking Octopus with Kimi | MeatEater Cooks

By | November 10, 2022

Kimi Werner certainly knows her way around a kitchen, and when it comes to anything seafood she is an absolute pro. But even pros can still learn something new on occasion and Kevin wants to share a method of preparing octopus with Kimi that he learned from a fellow chef, who is famous for his octopus preparations. The two work together to create a real showstopper of a dish, while sharing tips and tricks along the way that will make them both better cooks when they return home.

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Foreign To successfully being able to hold your Breath longer and dive down longer is Relaxing is it I mean is it absolutely Hands down it is it's like so almost Like counter-intuitively when you even Just see something like this and you Think of spearing a fish it just sounds Very like aggressive yeah for sure and That type of energy not only will you Not be able to hold your breath if You're being too aggro or aggressive but You're going to scare away everything in The ocean they can sense that and so you Want to bring yourself to the most Zen Place like in your mind that you could Ever be and that's what's going to make The hunt a good one I feel like if there's anywhere that People could learn to just chill out a Little bit probably inside a Professional restaurant yes don't black Out because I won't be there well okay We're gonna work on that I am going to teach you a little we're Gonna go now we're gonna go energy we're Gonna go kitchen energy I have a dish That I want to show you I think you're Really gonna like it I'm a little Nervous because you know a lot about Octopus but I want to show you the way That I make it oh All right good well I need like eight Arms because there's so many different

Components to this there's going to be Well there's just gonna be a lot of Stuff so let's start getting this set up Okay Foreign [Music] I'm very excited that you're letting me Show you an octopus dish today I feel a Little bit intimidated honestly I feel Like you're the octopus Pro not me But I only have about four go-to recipes And so learning a new one really excites Me well now you'll have five and I will Have still just the one but that's okay I want to show you this because it's Something that I really enjoy and it's Kind of a bizarre preparation so it Starts by actually braising the octopus Now that's not that strange but what you Braze it in is what's kind of strange Which is basically a full gallon of red Wine vinegar that is a lot of vinegar Not diluted just pure red wine vinegar Okay so I like to load this thing up With a lot of aromatics um before we Braise it so do me a favor take one of Those red onions um and let's just kind Of cut it into quarters or six or Something like that just Chuck it in This into this liquid so I'm gonna add a Ton of black peppercorns like a good two Tablespoons of black peppercorns to this I'm also going to add some fresh thyme a Pretty good handful of fresh tunnels

[Music] Perfect oh it smells so good already cut That head of garlic in half for me if You don't mind and then somewhere around Here there's some bay leaves if you see Them actually they're sitting over there Right here yeah throw all of them this Is another favorite ingredient of mine Oh bay leaves yes all right then I think You're gonna like this this seems like It has a lot of your favorite Ingredients in it so this is good I'm Gonna put a lid on this set it on the Stove and bring it to a boil and then Once it's actually up to a boil we'll Chuck the octopus in it as well awesome All right so You're very familiar with these oh fresh Octopus here beautiful yeah it's really Pretty and it's just such an amazing Yield where it's like literally all meat Yeah exactly the whole thing for today We're gonna focus on using the tentacles That's mostly because I really like when These little teeny tiny edges get Charred up I like how they get like kind Of crunchy and crispy and stuff like That so that's one of my favorites so Let's take this right here and let's Just Chuck it into our pot [Music] I already have the oven preheated to 225 Degrees and so the idea is that we'll Put it in here put the lid on and then

Put the whole thing in the oven and 45 Minutes to maybe two hours like who Knows we'll just have to check it and See octopus was not something that I Knew how to prepare for years it was Just it just never really factored into The style of cooking that I did but I Have a very very dear friend named Pano Keratosis who's a chef in Atlanta who's From Greece and dining in his restaurant I had his octopus dish and I was just Blown away by it and thankfully he Showed me how to make it and we're gonna Be cooking over actual like live wood Fire today because I want that smoke Foreign [Music] Okay all right so the first thing we're Going to do is make um kind of the base To this dish which is almost like hummus We're going to start by making this Tahini vinaigrette so will you crush up Some garlic for me like maybe three or Four cloves just smash it yeah smash it But then mince it up pretty fine for me As well Do you ever use tahini Not that much I mean the only time I Ever really work with it is in when I'm Making hummus if I have it I'll throw it In right It's one of my favorite ingredients it's Just pure Sesame right yeah just pure Sesame paste like peanut butter but

Sesame seeds [Music] And I'm gonna juice a lemon into it I'll Probably end up juicing a couple of Lemons and once that's all chopped up Like really really fine try to almost Like paste okay then Chuck it in this Bowl as well So this is kind of like a hybrid dish to A certain degree because certainly the Octopus preparation is very Greek but Then this kind of base is actually more Of like a Turkish dish Um where you make this hummus and you Intentionally leave it very very coarse And very thick So I find that if you add some hot water To it and just kind of keep stirring it It will eventually like It'll go backwards it'll go back to Being nice and fluid I found that out myself like doing Um a cooking presentation and I was so Nervous and it turned into a brick I was Trying to make a peanut sauce and thank Goodness it was the hot water they saved Yeah exactly like you just have to power Through like if you keep mixing it all Of a sudden now you're back to this Where it's really really nice and fluid I'm gonna throw a big pinch of salt in Here as well it's garlicky it's gonna be Garlic get ready these are all flavors I Love okay good this is a dish that is

Going to be very bright and acidic like If if I had one take away from my time In Greece it was that the food was much Much more acidic than I thought it would Be like what you eat Stateside sure it Has lemon and it has vinegar and stuff But it just it doesn't have the same Level of it that you actually get when You're in Greece that stuff is packs a Pretty good wallet totally this is based Very much off of that in fact I'm gonna Add the juice of maybe half a lemon over Again will you drizzle this in while I Whisk yes It's teamwork Beautiful [Music] So this is another like kind of funny Thing about it it actually has a little Bit of yogurt in this hummus so I've Never done that yeah at least one big Spoonful let's go with that first let me Just whisk this in and see Yeah it's it's it lightens the whole Thing up quite a bit you know Let's see we'll probably need to adjust The seasoning I don't know pretty close oh my God That is wonderful it's pretty cool I I Love this you like it yes awesome So I'm just going to kind of use my Whisk here to break these up just a Little bit So let's just set this out of the way

Here for a second So this dish also has tons of herbs in It if you want to pick some dill I'm Going to chop up some some chives here Real quick You know most of the stuff that that I Have seen as far as like the way that it That I had these dishes served when I Was in Greece everything was a little Bit more I hate using the word rustic Because it makes it sound like it wasn't Intentional but it was just they just Want you to know what something is you Know they really want you to go oh That's this thing like they're very Proud of their ingredients totally and I Love the word rustic and when I think of Like my time spent in Greece I felt like That was exactly what it was it just um The soul of the ingredients are left Pure still We do just get into like um autopilot Like herbs mince them and we are kind of Over manipulating something that doesn't Have to be yeah and not to mention that Especially with herbs they're very Delicate and the more you chop them yes That first kind of pass helps release Some of their flavors but it also can go The other way really quickly and you can Chop them to the point where you're Bruising them and you lose their flavor Exactly and we obviously we don't want That to happen

So what we're basically doing here is Just creating a really a basic herb Salad so parsley Dill chives lots of Lemon juice lots of extra virgin olive Oil we have some Capers we don't need to Do anything with those those are just Ready to go but we do want to go ahead And take these olives if you don't mind Just kind of cut them in half for us you Know just smaller bites I could just see this in my mind already And it is beautiful it has a looseness And a kind of I think of being on the Islands and how everybody was just Relaxed and this dish has a relaxed Quality about it while everything Simultaneously is just very thoughtfully Done intentionally relaxed exactly That's a good way to be I'm working on That for myself I'm gonna need a lot More practice but I'm working on that So this is ready to go Um we'll just set this aside for a Second I want to make the pickled onions Now and it's just a really basic pickled Onion it's not anything elaborate it's Just a little bit of the actual liquid From the braising octopus so I'm going To take some of that just kind of ladle It off hot over the onions Onion and Twist juices you're not supposed to do That yeah I think that's probably not The most common method of pickling

Onions but I like it because it just for Me it just continues that flavor of like That Oceanic flavor totally plus it's Like right now some of that octopus Juice has sort of infused into that Vinegar but not all of it because it Hasn't quite cooked enough so it's just Got a nice light kind of Briny nature to It Foreign So these are done now they've they've Done their thing they've braised they've Sort of just sat here and chilled a Little bit Do these look completely like strange Compared to the way you normally do them No I mean I guess the the skin just kind Of cooked right off of that of them or Yeah that vinegar kind of pulls it So you don't actually Go in and now peel them very much but Here let me show you what I like to do With them so some people leave all the You know all the pieces on I kind of Just you know kind of rub them off just A little bit yeah okay yeah so like what I'll try to do here is take one And I'll let you do one here why don't You grab one too sure I just think they look better if you Kind of wipe and at least that little Bit of like the albumin that kind of is On the outside looks like it would be Just one less layer of film yeah exactly

In your mouth exactly yeah oh gosh I Just love octopus I mean they're so Alien like they definitely are very Alien I um I don't even know how you Like how you fish for how you catch an Octopus like how do you do it so for me I'm always just like swimming around and Just studying the bottom of the ocean And just looking for any Dark spot any Shadow anything that looks A little different or I look for Overturned rocks Octopus they live in these holes but in Order to you know make a hole under a Rock they have to take all these little Rocks out and the way that rocks sit Underwater there's a sediment side that Kind of gets like Dusty and then there's Like a really bright colorful side so if I see a whole bunch of bright colorful Coral or rock you know outside of this Hole I'll go down and I'll just take my Spear and I'll just kind of stick it in There no I don't just spear them in the Hole because I don't know how big they Are I don't know what's going on but I Just want to tickle them and Um one by one these crazy legs will just Come out and grab my Spear and that's When I want to grab the octopus bite it Right in between the eyes that's like Crunching its brain and head to the Surface that's pretty intense Kimmy I Mean I like it I'm on board with that

But once The octopus's face is in my mouth I can Use my teeth and I can feel I can feel Exactly where to bite and so it's just a Very convenient efficient way of just Crunching getting the job done you know Yeah as humanely as possible is it Wrapping its tentacles around your head Are you doing that it totally could so There's a trick to it and what I do is I Hold it in by its head and all its arm Its legs will go up my arm and it'll try And pull its head out and when it's in That That position that's when I crunch if You try to Crunch before that it'll rip Your mask off give you hickeys all over Your face it's a mess Yeah that's okay did you learn that Through practice like they're doing it The wrong way and I can't even tell you How many people I've tried to teach and Just watch them get mouthfuls of ink Right in their mouth or just like lose Everything that they're wearing from This octopus yeah I believe that it Definitely it takes some time to acquire This girl Honestly these are I mean all I have to Do is just Chuck these on the grill for A minute let them get nice and charred Up and warm We have a really nice Greek extra virgin Olive oil that I'll put on there that

Way we also get just a little bit more Char so nice I'm gonna go outside and Grill it if you would do me a favor will You warm up the hummus while I'm outside Stove top stovetop yep and it doesn't Even need to be like bubbly just more Just more okay I can do that [Music] How's it looking really good like not Only did I not break the sauce but I Think it emulsified even more while Cooking it looks it smells phenomenal That garlic really does like it wakes up So good it's nice it's nice these came Out great that looks nice yeah they look Really good really tight end and kind of Yeah exactly dried up that moisture yeah It's got some good Char on the outside Of it Here you can try a piece We'll put the whole dish together here In a second but You have to know the component yeah Exactly exactly good I think we got some good smoke like I Like the way that it was really getting A nice Smoky consistency on the outside Of it and just like that nice light hint Of the Bed and the aromatic you cooked it in Right totally come through awesome The braising and the acid and everything That you put into that is something Totally new to me

So I'm just giving this thing a shower In extra virgin olive oil I want it to Be nice and shiny really really pretty You know as a matter of fact one last Thing for it because I think this is Really nice is just a little bit of Lemon zest in here too so [Music] All right I think we've done enough work When I actually taste it now yes all Right cool plate it up [Music] [Applause] [Music] That's it wow That is a plate of love like every Single bite you can just tell do you Want to try it absolutely okay cool Let's get some Forks out you'd never ask I know I know I've been playing with it Too long so it is so pretty to look at Now it's time to try it this is the Important part exactly you make you make A mess of it yes Olive And a tentacle now that is a wonderful That's a bite [Music] Yum that is delicious oh my God it's Just I love like I love how meaty Octopus is when you braise it and Grill It and then to have it with something That has so much acidity and punch like The pickled onions the lemon juice the

Little bit of lemon zest the Capers like And it just keeps changing because as You're getting a bite of something else You get like a little bit different Flavor in there 100 it like the Meatiness of the octopus and your Smashed garbanzo beans have the same Type of meatiness and then everything Else is just like one beautiful punch After another like obviously these Layers you know the olives the Capers The lemon it's just like you get that Little bit of bitterness also from the Tahini and it would not be the same Without the pickled onions not just for The punch but that texture that crunch You know it's like that is like a Finishing satisfaction that you just Need after all this stuff exactly I just I just love the way this dish comes Together and I attribute it entirely to My friend Panna who taught me how to Make this octopus and then I just kind Of took the ball and ran with it and Built this Good collab delicious well now here's The real test now you take this home and You put the Kimmy spoon oh I will I will Like this is something I will absolutely Be repeating and um yeah I'll give it a Little Hawaii Flair I'm sure Foreign [Music]