🐙 🐙 Tender Charred Octopus 🐙 🐙
Royal Corona Beans, Charred Tomato, Jalapeño, and Lemon
Fried Capers, Fresh Oregano, Olive Oil
What better way to celebrate our great spring weather than with a charred smoky octopus appetizer? Truth be told, we actually cook outside on the Blaze Grill all year long here in Las Vegas, but it is especially nice in April when it’s not too hot and not too cold.
Here I begin with Cooked Octopus Tentacles (Pulpo Cocido). Among other places, this product can be found in the refrigerated seafood section at Costco. The octopus is from the Eastern Central Atlantic Ocean, a product of Spain. It has already been cleaned and tentacles have been separated from the head. Preparation is as easy as opening the package.
The tender pre-cooked octopus is marinated in olive oil and dried oregano, then grilled until it is hot, smoky, and charred. It is plated with enormous creamy royal corona beans; charred tomatoes, jalapeños, and lemons; and fried capers. It is so tasty, colorful, and impressive that your guests will definitely think “restaurant quality.” Crusty bread makes a great accompaniment, along with a local IPA or a nice Sauvignon Blanc.
Charred Octopus Appetizer Recipe
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Slow-Braised Lamb Shanks
Smoky Cassoulet Beans
With Kalamata Olives and Cherry Tomatoes
This is the second of two quick, slow-braised lamb shank dinners. QUICK and SLOW? Yes, as the lamb shanks are already slow-braised, from the refrigerated section at Costco. Are they as good as home-cooked braised shanks that take 2 1/2 hours? Of course not, but for a fast impressive meal, they rock. And the beautiful beans here are cooked one day ahead so assembling the entire dish takes less than 30 minutes.
The beans from Rancho Gordo are grown in California from classic French Tarbais seed stock. This white runner bean was developed over generations by French farmers to be the foundation for a traditional cassoulet. The combination of beans, olives, and tomatoes simmered with smoked paprika and red wine paired with lamb is heavenly.
Gremolata – a mix of chopped fresh parsley/lemon zest/garlic – adds an invigorating freshness and brightness to most braised meats. It builds another interesting layer onto this outstanding dish.
Lamb Shanks and Cassoulet Beans Recipe
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Slow-Braised Lamb Shanks
Over Boursin Cheese Polenta
As an old magician friend of ours used to say, “I’m going to blow your mind!”
How about a mouth-watering, restaurant-quality dish of braised lamb shanks with a pomegranate-fig sauce over boursin cheese polenta on the table in about 10 minutes?
Is it magic?
Start the Clock
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Fast & Fabulous Duck à l’Orange
Over Braised Carrots and Leeks
White Pekin duck has a delicate flavor that is not at all gamey. Maple Leaf Farms White Pekin ducks hail from the original Long Island Pekin ducks brought over to the US from China in the 1800s.
They are now raised humanely and sustainably in Northern Indiana on family farms by mostly Amish farmers. The ducks eat a healthy balance of grains and veggies and are free to roam in cage-free barns.
I was thrilled to discover Maple Leaf Farms fully cooked Roast Half Duck at Costco. The delicious half ducks can be prepared in less than 20 minutes and paired with a myriad of sauces and sides. Here, the lean, succulent roast duck is served over savory carrots and leeks where the colors and flavors harmonize perfectly with the French inspired Duck à l’Orange recipe.
My orange sauce is citrusy, sweet, and tangy where soy sauce adds depth and umami notes while cider vinegar adds a brightness. Fast & fabulous, the sauce takes about 5 minutes to prepare.
Fast & Fabulous Duck à l’Orange Recipe
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