Have you seen these beautiful shell beans at the market? Those beauties to the left are sometimes called Dragon Tongue or Tongue of Fire beans. The beans on the inside of the pod are a similarly speckled with flames of fuchsia. Unfortunately most of the vibrant color bleeds out during the cooking process, but the legumes make up for the loss in color with their beautiful texture and flavor. Chef Sandy Gendel of Sirena and Pace restaurants uses the fresh shell beans from McGrath Family Farms in his Grilled Octopus & Fresh Legume Salad. He shares his recipe below:
Grilled Octopus & Fresh Legume Salad
Courtesy of Chef Sandy Gendel, Sirena Restaurant
Small 1-2 lbs. octopus
1 large carrot washed, cut in half
1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in half
1 celery rib, washed, cut in half
1 dozen whole peppercorns
1 star anise
1 fresh bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
½ bunch Italian parsley
Salt, to taste
Place octopus in large bowl and massage as you rotate the octopus around the bowl. In a pot large enough not crowd the octopus, fill ¾ with water and add the carrot, onion, celery, peppercorns, star anise, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley.
Salt to taste (you want there to be a noticeable amount of saltiness in the water and it’s always best to add salt to taste right before you add the ingredient to blanch or cook. Because while the water boils and evaporates, it will increase the ratio of salt to water making the water over salted.)
Place pot of water with all ingredients inside on high heat until water approaches boiling, and then reduce heat to medium. Skim off any and all impurities that begin to surface on top with a ladle or spoon. Once water reaches boiling point, reduce heat to a simmer and leave to cook for about 35-40 min. Remove octopus and refrigerate until ready to grill.
For Grilling: Cut octopus into 3 inch pieces, and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill until meat is caramelized, approximately 10 minutes, turning every couple minutes to ensure it cooks evenly.
2 pounds fresh legumes in the pod (Dragon tongues, cannellini, etc.)
1 celery rib
1 fresh bay leaf
Fresh thyme few sprigs
Salt to taste
Remove fresh legumes from the pods. Place beans in pot of water with onion, celery, carrot and salt to taste. Wrap the bay leaf, thyme & peppercorns in cheese cloth and tie with twine and drop in pot. Put over high heat and skim off all impurities as the rise to the surface. As water comes to a boil reduce the heat and bring back down to a swimmer. Let simmer until beans are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes. Fresh legumes will cook twice as fast as soaked dried legumes. Always use a wooden spoon when mixing beans while cooking. A metal spoon will prevent the beans from fully cooking. Once cooked, remove pot from stove to cool.
1 cup cooked legumes (dragon tongues, cannellini, ect)
1/2 pound arugula or chopped kale
½ fresh bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 bunch Italian Parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon minced pancetta
1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Salt, pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, to finish
Juice of 1/2 a lemon, to finish
While octopus is grilling, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add pancetta and cook slightly. Add bay leaf and thyme and let infuse with oil. Add garlic and shallots and sauté until golden and then add beans. Sauté a bit more to heat the beans through and add ½ teaspoon sherry vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and arugula. Toss in pan a bit and then plate the beans. Place grilled octopus on top and season once more with fresh squeeze of ½ lemon and extra virgin olive oil.