Our first Weekend Project of 2015 comes to us from The Gander
, which was one of our favorite NYC restaurant openings in 2014. We are big fans of the comfy and chic design of the dining room and the approachable yet innovative fare on the ever evolving menu, including “Buffalo” Sweetbreads, Sea Trout Tartare, the house-made Spaghetti with three different kinds of clams — Littleneck, Geoduck and Razor — and the brisket tots. That's tots made of brisket people, tots of brisket. Chef/owner Jesse Schenker shared this recipe for one of our favorites from the Fall menu — you'll have to go to the restaurant itself to try the tots.
Grilled Octopus with Peppers, Coco Beans, Thyme from The Gander
1 6lb fresh Spanish octopus
1 large carrot
3 stalks celery
1 Spanish onion
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 liter red wine
1 liter water
1 sheet of kombu (dried seaweed)
½ cup kosher salt
Blanch octopus in boiling salt water until firm, then shock in ice water. Portion octopus into 8 separate tentacles, removing the head and discarding the beak. Season tentacles with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill until evenly caramelized.
Cut onion, celery, carrot, orange and lemon into large dice.
In a large pot, combine red wine, water, kombu, bay leaf and salt, bring to a simmer then add diced vegetable, citrus and grilled octopus. Cover the pot and boil at 375 degrees for 55 minutes. Remove from the stove and let cool in braising liquid.
Reseason with salt and pepper and grill until crispy (if you don’t have a grill at home, you can roast in a cast iron pan).
Coco Beans recipe
1 cup dried coco beans
1 clove garlic
1 sprig thyme
6 cups water
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepot and simmer for approximately 30-45 minutes or until beans are tender. Let beans chill in liquid, then strain and reserve.
Pickled Peppers recipe
3 large red bell peppers
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 cups water
½ cup sugar
Grill peppers until skin is charred. Place into stainless steel bowl and wrap with plastic, reserve for 30 minutes.
Remove plastic. Peel skin and seeds of the peppers and discard. Slice peppers.
In a saucepot, place vinegar, water and sugar and let boil. Once boiling, pour directly over peppers and chill them in the refrigerator. Once chilled, discard vinegar from peppers.
Combine coco beans, pickled peppers, fresh parsley, diced red onion, fresh thyme, olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and sea salt.
To plate, place octopus down first in middle of the plate, then garnish with coco beans and pickled pepper.