Dionysia: Spartan Pork and Platonic Octopus

surfnturf

Spartan, yet Platonic:

Bracing spartan black broth, spartan loukanika  sausage, octopodes’ arms, skordalia, with harmonic plating.

The spartans were known for their toughness in battle and in their ability to survive on a limited diet of “Spartan Black Broth,” a mixture of pigs’ blood and vinegar. I have repurposed this broth as a sauce, with a loukanika style sausage from the same region. Plato was one of the most famous philosophers of the era, and his eponymous relationships are known for a sense of balance; I have balanced the intensity of the black-broth-pork with a lighter element in the Octopus with skordalia. This Surf and Turf has balance in source, flavor, texture, temperature and color.

Loukanika

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground pork, 25% fat
  • 2 TB fresh orange zest
  • 3 TB fresh fennel fronds, chopped tiny
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  • First mince the fennel fronds and combine with orange zest and salt
  • Add in the pork and mix with your fingers
  • Form short, thin logs of sausage, and roll them up into pinwheels
  • Sautee in a dry pan until nicely browned on both sides

Black Broth

Ingredients

  • “Blood.” OK so it’s not exactly what the Spartans ate, but I collected 1/2 cup of bloody drippings from beef and duck over the past 2 months to use in this sauce
  • 2 Cups cherry juice
  • 2 TB black vinegar
  • 2 TB honey
  • a pinch of salt

Preparation

  • Cook together over medium heat until well reduced
  • Reseason and/or strain if necessary

Octopus

Ingredients

  • 1 whole large octopus
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt

Preparation – Ahead

  • Put all of the ingredients except the octopus in a pot full of water and bring t o a boil
  • Add the octopus, legs down
  • Cook for 45-60 minutes, uncovered
  • Pull octopus out and allow to cool
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve; it is served cold

Skordalia

Ingredients

  • 2 small yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Preparation

  • Bake or boil potatoes until cooked; allow to cool
  • Sautee garlic until cooked; allow to cool
  • Smash potatoes and garlic with olive oil and salt
  • Serve room temperature

Salad

  • Slice the fennel bulb and the orange (from the zest) thinly, add a pinch of salt and a bit of good olive oil

Plating

  • Octopus legs curl as they cook, and the sausage you made in a curled shape. Use this parallel to plate in faux-symmetry, octopus legs on one side of the platter, sausage curls on the other side
  • Black sauce goes on the sausage side
  • Skordalia and fennel-orange salad separate the cold octopus and the hot sausage
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