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Octopus's Garden Salad

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Today the sun is shining again in Brooklyn. My local wine store put out a sign: "Weather, make up your damn mind!" Indeed, yesterday was windy, menacing and wet, and today Beatles' "Octopus's Garden" comes to mind:
We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves
Perhaps due to this association, I suddenly craved some octopus amid a green paradise of green cauliflower, canned peas, pickles, celery, parsley, capers and a few other things. ...Wanna try?

What you need:
20 min of time
4 oz canned octopus preserved in oil
1 small head of green cauliflower
2/3 cup canned peas
1 sour pickle, julienned
1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
1 stem celery, thinly sliced
1 small bunch parsley
1.5 tsp capers
1 tsp green peppercorns preserved in brine*
1.5 tsp mayo
1 tsp soy sauce

Carve the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, and boil for no more than 5 minutes in a pot of salted water. Drain and rinse with cool water.
Use a chopper to chop parsley very finely. In a small cup, combine mayo and soy sauce, mixing rapidly until homogeneous. You could also use oil for a dressing. Chop the octopus if necessary.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and tenderly mix in the mayo dressing. The point is to create a very thin coating of the dressing, so the small amount of mayo is intentional.

Turn on some Beatles record. Sit down. Enjoy it.

* I just discovered pickled green peppercorns. If you have these at your supermarket, I strongly recommend them. They are soft enough to chew, not as spicy as ripe dried peppercorns, but spicy enough to add a lot of character to your salads. Originally I was planning on using a hot pepper, but these worked much better.

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