Again these two appetizers using boiled octopus leg are not new. But these were what we had one evening.
The first one is sort of octopus carpaccio (Carpaccio de pulpo). Ia . I first made zigzag lines of good fruity olive oil on the plate and then criss-crossed with lines of syrupy aged balsamic vinegar. I scattered Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Since I had a leftover fennel bulb which was used for making , I first thinly sliced fennel using a Japanese mandolin and placed them as a base. I thinly sliced boiled octopus leg and placed in one layer on the top. I added a few slices of fennel, thin slices of cucumber and scattered oil cured back olives (after removing the stone). I finished with lines of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, Kosher salt and black pepper. Fennel added anis-like flavor and oil cured olive gave a burst of saltiness. This combination was quite good.
Using the tips of the octopus leg, I also made a small Japanese style salad with芥子酢味噌 dressing. I just cut the tips into small bite size chunks. I sliced cucumber, salted it and squeezed out the moisture. I then took salt preserved (not dry) Wakame sea weed, washed it to remove the salt and soaked in water for a few minutes then cut into small pieces. The dressing is a mixture of white (sweet “Saikyo” 西京味噌) miso, rice vinegar, Japanese mustard and sugar.
Because of the acidity in the dishes, sake was the best choice although the first Carpaccio dish could go with wine. These were good starters with cold sake.