Confit Octopus Skewers
From The Drake’s Matt Ravenscroft and Ted Corrado
Octopus, the main player in this week’s cicchetti recipe, is as visually striking as it is delicious. A Venetian menu is not complete without it.
1 3/4 lb octopus (baby octopus, if you can get them)
1 litre extra virgin olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 tbsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 gloves garlic
1 bunch parsley
1 bag of red or green grapes (there will be plenty of extras; you need one grape for each skewer)
1 tbsp olive oil
100 g of pancetta
1 bunch of basil
In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add onion, bay leaf, garlic cloves, parsley and peppercorns and bring to a summer. Gently place octopus into simmering oil and cook at a very low simmer until octopus is tender (approximately two hours). Let cool, and then remove from confit oil. Portion into one- to two-inch pieces. Just before serving, sear octopus in a hot, dry skillet to caramelize the octopus (a brûlée torch will also do the trick.)
Toss grapes with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Toss into very hot skillet to quickly char the grapes. Place grapes on paper towel-lined sheet to remove excess oil and then cool in fridge.
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Place pancetta on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 7-10 minutes (until pancetta is lightly crispy, like bacon). Pat dry to remove any excess oil.
Tear ¼ bunch of basil into smaller pieces.
Pierce ingredients onto the skewers in the following order: octopus (at the bottom); basil; pancetta; grape. Add a hit of Olive oil and Maldon salt, and serve.
ABOUT THE CHEF
Matt Ravenscroft was at Ryerson University studying to be a teacher when his first professional cooking job at Crush Wine Bar inspired an instant and lifelong love for the culinary world. He recently joined Drake Hotel Properties to head up the new catering division with Ted Corrado, who joined as Corporate Corporate Executive Chef in 2013. Prior to taking the culinary reins at Drake, Corrado was Executive Chef at the Royal Ontario Museum's lauded c5 Restaurant, where he was part of the 2006 launch team as Chef de Cuisine.
Bite is a biweekly feature on modellocanada.com, and is inspired by the Venetian tradition of serving cicchetti—small dishes to snack on with wine—at local bàcari.