Chef Bueno’s Octopus Salad

An Interview with Chef Bueno of Rancho Pescadero + Octopus Salad Recipe

 

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Where did you start cooking? And why. 

 

My culinary adventure started in Mexico City when I was a kid. My family used to visit different restaurants on Sundays; for me that was a great school, even if I didn’t know yet that I wanted to become a Chef. I tried foods from a lot of different cultures: Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, French (I had escargots at the age of 7!). With all that experience, I started cooking Japanese food, and started my own business while I was at school. That’s how I decided I wanted to become a Chef.

Your passion for food is inspiring. How do you keep your staff engaged day in and day out? 

I basically told them one of my secrets: COOK WITH LOVE!!! I told them that they need to to cook with their hearts, always thinking about the guest, and creating an experience that they will always remember.

How would you describe your food? 

My food its fresh, global, and always comes with a story.

Can you tell me about the farms on the property?

The best part about the farm next to the restaurant its that it is completely organic! From October to June we have a great variety of products that we use during the day to prepare delicious dishes and drinks. Having cilantro, tomatillo, basil, peppers, candy beets, and zucchinis growing next to the restaurant makes the perfect scenario for the food experience at Rancho.

Chef Bueno was kind enough to share one of his signature recipes with me, so I can share it with you! This recipe is scaled to feed a crowd, so cut all of the measurements in half if you’re planning a more intimate dinner.

Octopus with Yellow Corn Salad

1 whole cooked octopus

2 pounds yellow corn, whole

10 ounces white vinegar

2 quarts water

1/2 tbsp salt

1 oz olive oil

3 oz avocado

2 pounds cucumber

1 serrano pepper

4-5 limes

2 corn husks

2 pounds jumbo shrimp

8 oz first-press olive oil

5 oz roma tomatoes

small bunch of chive flowers

salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Boil the corn in its husks in water, vinegar, and salt for 30 minutes. Reserve the water and set aside. Peel the corn and set it in an ice bath, keeping the husks to use later.

Once the corn has cooled, cut the kernels from the ears and combine with 2 ounces of the reserved water from boiling.

In a strong blender, combine cucumber, lime juice, salt, and serrano pepper. Strain for an hour through cheesecloth.

Boil the cilantro for 10 seconds and shock in an ice bath. Combine in blender with the water strained from the cucumber mixture. Add an ounce of olive oil and store in a cold place until ready to serve.

Burn the corn husks either on a grill or in the oven. Once they are blackened, crush into ashes using a mortar-and-pestle or food processor. Add sea salt to taste and set aside.

Clean the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. In a large saucepan, cover the uncooked shrimp with olive oil and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes.

In another pan, sautee the octopus with olive oil until golden and crispy. Season with garlic and parsely.

To assemble: Pour the cucumber water the the bottom of a shallow bowl. Drain corn and add several tablespoons in the middle of the bowl. Add two shrimp and two octopus medallions. Garnish with corn husk ashes and chive flowers.

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