The cooking started right away on a Sunday after circling through Richard Lenoir Market multiple times. One of the first items that caught my eye were a set of octopus tentacles. A cluster of four huge long limbs glistening near the entrance of the market that as I mentioned before, changed everything I had initially set out to cook. I love using octopus because it is simply delicious and deliciously simple! Why overcomplicate a good thing?! For a summer dish, I love to roast octopus in a little olive oil with lemon (although naturally I did do a little more than that!). And since it was a blazing with heat in Paris, I tossed together a fresh and chunky tomato salad with parsley and lemon for a side.
On one burner I set a pot of water seasoned with stalks of parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns and olive oil to a boil. On the other I had a saucepan on medium high heat and added a spoonful of butter and three cloves of pickled garlic. Olive oil splashed into the pan next to ease the butter from burning. Then the small baby onions (I was obsessed with!!) tumbled into the pan and I swirled to coat them in the foaming butter. The onions sat over the heat to char and caramelise and I returned my attention to the tentacles. The tips of the limbs touched the water first and then the rest of the octopus eased into the water. As soon as the ends sprung up in curls and the legs blanched for a minute or two, I removed it and lay it on a lined baking tray. A generous sprinkling of pepper and a good swig of olive oil drizzled over the tray while I squeezed a segment of fresh lemon over the mix. I bruised and threw in some lemon rind and then poured over the baby onions to rest in the grooves where they would roast for the next hour and fifteen minutes.
The smell of mediterranean salt water, of sweetened lemon and garlic lingered through the entire apartment and I could tell it was time to remove the octopus. The ends were crispy and the flesh tender and juicy inside of a roasted crust. The onions tumbled on one plate, sticky, caramel and sweet and on the other plate the legs stacked up one on top of another. To finish, I squeezed over the juice of the steaming lemon and added one final crack of pepper.
We invited a couple of friends over for aperitivo and shared the meal on the balcony with a few bottles of rose (ofcourse). First cooked meal in Paris... tick! tick! tick!!