40 edible monterey bay Summer 2015 “Most American chefs don’t know how to cook octopus. They cook it too much. The skin falls off, and it loses its texture.” He pauses for validation of this broad statement from the men around the table. They nod and smile. Davi continues, “When I cook octopus, I bring water, salty like the ocean, up to a boil. I dip the octopus into the water then remove it. I then dip it again and remove it. I repeat the dip one more time and then gently submerge the octopus in the water. I let the pot simmer for 20 minutes and then let the octopus cool in the liquid. You can’t touch the octopus while it is cooking because it will make it tense up and become tough. When the octopus is done, it is tender and flavorful but still has texture—it’s al dente.” Whenever Sicilians talk about cooking, they are apt to be both passionate and opinionated. They wax poetically about their mother’s wood-fired breads, gesturing toward their lips, eyes partially closed, to convey the bliss of the memory. While they do not always agree on which ingredient is best or what method of preparation is superior, they do have one thing in common— their absolute love of food. John Cox is the executive chef at Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar restaurant in Big Sur. He is a frequent contributor to Edible Monterey Bay. RECIPES: See John Cox’s recipe for Stuffed Sardines with Caponta on p. 42.
edible Monterey Bay Summer 2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above