Today’s post features one of the sorts of dishes that comes together out of a need to finish of various foodstuffs that might otherwise go to waste. Here, I had some leftover grilled octopus tentacles (which actually would have been eaten one way or the other) along with some tomatoes that were getting very ripe indeed, and some basil leaves left after pruning the plants in my kitchen window.
The basil and tomato suggested a Caprese Salad sort of affair and, while I didn’t quite go that way, the basic idea did inspire the pasta salad I eventually created. To make it, I first boiled, drained, rinsed and cooled some fusilli pasta (rinsing is only employed when using pasta in cold dishes). I then tossed this with just a little olive oil and some dried thyme, savory, and black pepper. Later, just before final assembly of the dish, I tossed the pasta once again with just a tiny amount of mayonnaise to give the whole a creamier consistency, and then stirred in some diced tomato and basil cut chiffonade.
The tentacles of the octopus had already been prepared by blanching and were subsequently grilled on skewers. The majority (already eaten at this point) were threaded whole onto the skewers, while the remainder, used here, were sliced crosswise and grilled with just a little oil and seasoning. Once cooled, the meat, still on the skewers was marinated with a little more oil, some garlic, rosemary and lemon juice. The total margination time was no more than a few hours (basically long enough to make the salad), and, to serve, I just popped a few skewers atop a mound of the salad and, on this occasion, I garnished one of the bowls with some basil flowers.
Anyway, the result was very nice. The salad was simple and tasty and would easily make a great starter dish all by itself. The same was true of the octopus, which was very tender and enhanced by the combination of herbs and lemon juice. The only thing I was less keen on was the pairing of octopus with basil…. That would be something I may rethink in the future…