06 March 2011


I found this red onion acting up in the under-counter bin, throwing a rowdy dance party for the sweet potatoes and her cousins, the yellow Spanish onions. I recognize this behavior -- she was all but begging to be used. And so I thought it fitting to throw her in with the below creatures.

Baby octopuses (or "octopi," though the term is often thought to be a hypercorrection), trimmed, beheaded, halved, quartered, basically cut into palatable pieces. They were seasoned with kosher salt and fresh black pepper, browned quickly (whereby they began to immediately writhe and seize in the most alarming, fascinating manner), then added to....

an aromatic jumble of the holy trinity of onion, carrot, celery. Some call it mirepoix, I just call it a good start. Anyone worth his salt knows this is where any good braise begins. Speaking of braise, a bay leaf and some crushed red pepper flakes were added, as were a large handful of tiny cherry tomatoes and several healthy glugs of red wine. A chewy, blood-dark cabernet, to be exact. Dialed in to a happy simmer, it stayed this way for about half an hour, softly bubbling on the stovetop, filling the kitchen with a savory waft and boasting the most beautiful, ruby-purple tendrils of tentacles.

To go alongside, a verdant tumble of quartered Brussels sprouts, steamed to tender perfection then tossed with a drizzle of zingy extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of Meyer lemon, finished with a grating of the zest, marigold in hue, heady and fragrant.

Some mandoline-thin raw beets (red and golden, both) with fresh spring onions were dressed and added to the plate, and dinner was served. A glass of Penny Farthing dry Rosé never hurts. Favorite fork, knock yourself out.