“The recipe was born one afternoon at Finca when a customer ordered octopus. We started to think how to cook it with the ingredients we had on hand that day. We had an oak barrel custom made in San Diego and we were experimenting with smoked foods in it, so I did my thing with the octopus and then grilled it. We added peanuts, chile de arbol, lime, and butter to top it off. It was really good, even though we didn’t include it on the menu at first, it holds the top spot today and there are people who cross the border just to come in and try it.”– Javier Plascencia
This recipe is excerpted from Javier Plascencia’s cookbook The Soul of Baja.
- 1 1/2 pounds octopus
- 2 gallons water
- 3 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 piece bay leaf
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 cups lemon juice
- 1/4 cup crushed pepper
- 1 cup ponzu sauce
- 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
- 1 cup sake
- 1/8 cup cilantro
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Cook the octopus in a pot with water, garlic, salt, and the bay leaf until tender.*
- Next, place octopus over a charcoal grill and cook until the tentacles char and gain color.
- Let cool, then slice. Next, cover the octopus with lemon, soy sauce, and the crushed pepper. Let stand for two hours in the refrigerator.
- Sauté the octopus in a pan using 5 grams of butter, then add sake, ponzu sauce, and lemon juice.
- Once the sauce has reduced, add the remaining butter to thicken and then sprinkle the cilantro over the dish.
- Garnish with peanuts before before serving.
*Editor’s Note: Recommended cooking time for octopus is approximately 13 minutes per pound.