The Holiday season is now a thing of the past and the time has come for me to tell you about my New Years Eve dinner party. This tale will stretch over several posts however. This year I decided to spend the better part of the New Years Eve preparing a 6 course dinner for an intimate circle. We began as usual with a cheese and cold cuts platter accompanied by a traditional Bulgarian fortune bread, the recipe for which can be found here. In every piece of the bread is hidden a small piece of paper with fortune written on it. Next I served a simple arugula salad to cleanse and prepare the palate for what’s coming. After the salad I served Octopus Carpaccio, the recipe for which I share today, followed by a Buttered Lobster Tail which of which I will talk in my upcoming post. Coming next was Duck Magret à l’Orange which will be the subject of the post after. Around 11:30pm we bid farewell to the old year with a slice of my beloved Strawberry Cheesecake.
1 bay leaf
10 black paper corns
1 Tbs salt
For the dressing:
2 tsp Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
Boil the octopus: Place the onion, carrot, bay leaf, pepper corns and salt in a medium pot, add about 2 litters of water and bring to a boil. In the meantime clean well the octopus. Using large bbq tongs dip several times the tentacles in the boiling water to give them a nice curl. Then simmer the octopus for about 1 hours or until tender. Gently remove the octopus from the water, taking care not to damage the skin and let it cool slightly.
Season the octopus: Use gloves. Make the marinate by combining the paprika, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a medium bowl, then add about a 1/4 cup from the cooking liquid which is very gelatinous and will hold your carpaccio together. Using scissors cut the tentacles and place them in the bowl, mix until they are well covered with dressing.
Mold the carpaccio: Cut the top of a 500ml plastic round water bottle. Start arranging the tentacles in the bottle one by one by pressing them down with a mortar rod or garlic stick. Make sure the octopus in tightly packed. Then using a sharp knife or scissors make 4 incisions in the empty part of the bottle up until the level of the octopus, this will allow you to close the bottle as you would close a carton box, then wrap it tight with scotch tape and refrigerate for 6 hours of over night.
Serve: Unmold the octopus by carefully cutting the bottle with scissors. Cut the carpaccio as thinly as possible with the sharpest knife you have. Arrange the octopus carpaccio in a large flat plate, drizzle with good olive oil, add a pinch of sea salt and serve with sliced lemon.
Wine suggestions: Cava or Sauvignon Blanc.