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Octopus at Porta in Asbury Park - Neighborhood Eats

August 2, 2013 9:09:13 PM PDT
Porta is more than a restaurant with its enormous indoor and outdoor space. This is about bringing people together.

Big groups share Neapolitan food here. The pizza is the main draw here, but there are also other dishes including octopus.

Grace Crossman starts a broth with fennel, lemon, garlic and shallots. The octopus goes in along with some white wine, parsley, fennel greens and water.

The octopus cooks down to a much smaller size, and then it's saut?ed with fingerling potatoes. The dish is finished off with a buttery caper sauce and fennel salad.

After Sandy, Porta was filled with water and mud, but it, like many other spots, has come back.

For more information about the restaurant, please visit www.pizzaporta.com.

Octopus and Fennel salad from Porta Recipe

TO BRAISE THE OCTOPUS:

3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, quartered
1 bulb garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
1 fennel bulb, quartered, and fennel stalks
1 lemon, scrubbed and cut in half crosswise
1 6-8 lb octopus, thawed
a handful of parsley
3 bay leaves
1 bottle of dry white wine, minus 3 Tbsp water

-heat a medium sized, heavy bottom stainless steel pot with olive oil.

-Add shallot, cut sides down, and lightly caramelize. Repeat with garlic and fennel.

-Add octopus, cover with fennel stalks, parsley and bay leaves. Add lemon and entire bottle of white wine, reserving the 3 Tbsp. Add water to cover the octopus by about one inch.

-Simmer very gently on low heat, never boiling, until tender enough to separate legs when lifted with tongs.

TO CLEAN THE OCTOPUS:

-Remove octopus from the pot and lay on a pan, sucker side up, until cooled to room temperature. Discard the rest of the contents of the pot.

-Pull the skin from between each leg and around the top side of the legs, leaving only the suckers. Discard the beak and the joint pieces of the legs. Clean out the contents of the head.

-Cut each leg into two pieces. Cut the head into strips.

TO PREPARE THE DISH:

olive oil
4 fingerling potatoes, cooked and cooled, cut in half lengthwise
4 pieces of the octopus legs and 2 pieces of the head

-heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed stainless steel pan until very hot

-With the pan on medium heat, add potatoes, cut sides down, and cook until well browned. Flip them over.

-Add octopus and brown well, but gently, on both sides. Remove immediately after they are browned and crispy.

-Arrange potatoes in a row, piling some on top of others, on the plate.

- Arrange octopus on top of them.

THE SAUCE:

1 garlic clove, sliced thin
1 Tbsp non pareil capers, rinsed
3 Tbsp dry white wine
2 tsp lemon juice
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
pinch of salt and pinch of pepper

-Add all ingredients but the butter and reduce by about half.

-Add the butter and gently cook until melted and sauce is emulsified.


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