I know that I am the best cook(er) in the world because my three year-old son tells me so when I make him fridge surprise for dinner. (The surprise being that there is anything remotely edible in our fridge.) Naturally, this makes me exceedingly happy, especially so since he tends to eat such meals with gusto. However, it is not just gastronome children who appreciate our particular brand of cookery. No, indeed. Last year, one of our pictures (from this post) was liked on Instagram by top Philadelphia restaurant Alla Spina, no less.
At the same time as reddening our cheeks and swelling our chests with pride, this never-repeated feat made me wonder at the true level of antipathy between culinary professionals and hobby food bloggers like ourselves. After all, we, the bloggers, secrete ourselves in the anonymity of the interwebs as authorities on this and that, often making our own versions of dishes eaten out, and put ourselves at the mercy of the opinions of the web browsing public and Google’s ever-changing algorithms, to see if they can tell, well, shit from shinola, to quote my father-in-law. Culinary professionals on the other hand, test themselves against the approbation of a finicky public every night of the week, and I can’t imagine it is not frustrating to them that some amateurs like us are blowing up the top spots on search results with our versions of their recipes, most of which we only make once or twice.
So, in an attempt to redress the chef-blogger karmic balance, we present to you this dish of chickpeas pureed in ham stock and dotted with chunks of grilled octopus, Mexican-style chorizo and splats of cilantro salsa verde. It is not a half-arsed recreation of a dish we ate out somewhere, though it very well could be, it is something that leapt forth one day from the frothy runnels of our very own minds. In truth, scratching our heads, we have never seen anything like this on a menu anywhere, and while modesty prevents us from suggesting that should any chef deign to visit this here website and find inspiration for their menu, we would be no means upset. In fact, it very well might make our year. Were anyone else to even consider trying it, we’d be pleased as punch too.
Chickpea Purée with Grilled Octopus, Mexican Chorizo and Cilantro Salsa Verde (serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main)
- 2x 16oz cans chickpeas, drained
- 1 pint warm ham stock
- 1lb octopus, boiled and cooled
- 1lb Mexican-style chorizo links, or hot Italian sausage
- 1 bunch cilantro (fresh coriander leaf)
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 1 large lemon
- black pepper
- cold tap water
- In a food processor of blender, blitz together chickpeas, ham stock, and black pepper, until mixture is a smooth puree. Go easy on the stock to start with. You can always thin it out but you can’t thicken it once all the stock has been added. Taste and correct seasoning.
- Heat your grill/barbecue/griddle pan to screaming hot, rub octopus with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt, and grill until nicely cooked, crispy and charred in spots, 3-6 mins, depending on thickness of octopus.
- On same grill/pan, but only on medium heat, cook Mexican style chorizo in its casing until cooked through. 5-8 minutes
- Using a mortar and pestle or stick-blender, combine cilantro, hot pepper flakes, 4 tbsp olive oil, juice of the lemon, some water and salt to make your salsa verde. Sauce should be runny like a sauce but not liquid.
- While cooked components are still warm, plate dish and serve with crusty bread, and/or a green salad on the side.