Usually things don't get posted until after they happen, but this is a preview. Also my camera display decided to quit working midday, so excuse the off-center shot below (no time to cut or crop).
We decided what to make for the South Beach Food & Wine Festival just a few days ago... Octo-Pie. Aside from the obvious corny word-play, the 'pie' consists of grilled baby octopus, parmesan cracker crust, yellow tomato curd, whipped artichoke topping, and olive streusel. It's a one-bite deal.
In our thoughts of using a unique protein, we ended up with a unique composition as well. We will be serving this dish at the Grand Tasting Event on the beach all day today. If you are there, come and see us and say hi. Our sign will read either Trump International or Neomi's. The F & W is usually a slam house event packed with a crowded house all day. We're hoping for great weather 'cause food and sand and water don't mix well. Eggbeater called this a 'Sweeney Todd' dish and I like that macabre description... especially in contrast to the fresh mediterranean flavors of the components. If there was a competition for a Tim Burton-inspired dish, this could be in the running.
The crust was a cracker recipe baked off in silpat mini muffin molds. Think parmesan cheez-it and you will come close to what the flavor of it is.
The baby octopus (which came in large-ish for baby) was marinated with preserved meyer lemon, garlic, herbs, and olive oil for one day, then grilled and sliced.
The tomato curd (no picture) was made by removing the skin and outer pulp of some locally grown heirloom yellow tomatoes, blending them, and mildly setting it with a carrageenan blend. A little added citric acid kept the fresh tartness of the tomato flavor.
The whipped artichoke topping was a puree of artichoke bottoms and stems that were poached in an apple juice/lemon juice blend. By cooking them this way, we get a much cleaner flavor than 'store-bought' artichokes (obviously) so that the puree has a much milder artichoke taste. The puree was then whipped by blending in methocel and whipping it in a Hobart mixer. Here is a picture after blending and before whipping. When doing this over an ice bath to keep the liquid as cold as possible, the methocel creates a gel that has amazing elasticity for entrapping air bubbles... which allows it to be whipped afterwards. Both the blending and whipping processes take at least 20 minutes each, so patience!
The last element is the olive steusel which was made by dehydrating some kalamatas, spanish queens, and Boscoli olive salad then grinding them with flour and cutting in whole butter in a food processor. The 'dough' is then baked off for 15 to 20 minutes and crumbled. I like the salty olive buttery taste of this, but what I love is the appearance... sort of like the 'landscape-inspired' dishes many of the Spanish chefs are exploring today.
2 solid days of prep condensed into a few photos. The event sheet calls for 2500 portions of which we did about half of that amount. The rest of the day we will be rolling out a steamed cake that Fabian has been working on (no pics, unfortunately).
See you there.