A fresh, fast, one dish dinner that captivates palates and imaginations young and old…
In a much beloved game in our home my three year old daughter, and most favorite sous chef, is allowed to pick raw ingredients all by herself and challenge me to create a dish to her specifications. It’s fun for both of us and I am consistently amazed by the variety and wholesomeness of the food she chooses (she’s yet to pick mac and cheese for example even though it’s a favorite food).
In this case she wowed my by selecting baby octopus (which she had never seen before, let alone tried) and soba noodles (which she had). Next she challenged me to make a dish wherein the octopi "looked like they were swimming,” and, because they were babies, she reminded me that they needed a nest (naturally); and, because I am someone who feels compelled to add a ‘green thing’ to nearly every dish… I added sugar snap peas. I also wanted to see if my daughter would eat them.
Frankly, the hardest part about this recipe is sourcing the baby octopus - other than that it’s dead easy, not to mention lightning fast. Before you buy your octopus, however, be sure to check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide for their best baby octopus buying practices.
As we’re prone to do, my tiny sous chef and I captured the maiden voyage of this recipe in a step by step video self shot and edited entirely on the iPhone 4 which can be viewed on:
Scallions - green tops removed, cut into matchsticks
Organic Chicken, Fish or Vegetable broth
juice from one inch of grated, fresh ginger
Sugar Snap Peas
baby octopus (wild-caught He’e or Tako from Hawaii, or wild-caught Pulpo from the Gulf of California are most sustainable)
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
In This Recipe
Prepare Soba Noodles as instructed on package, rinse in cool water, drain, cover & set aside
Heat wok or large sauce pan and add sesame oil.
Sautee Scallions in oil, aproximately one minute. If they begin to darken turn down the heat.
Add broth and ginger juice to wok or sauce pan, bring to a boil. Add salt to taste.
Blanch snap peas in broth for 1 minute. Strain and set aside.
Bring broth mixture back to a boil and using a straining ladle or slotted spoon transfer baby octopus to liquid. Allow to cook for one-two minutes depending on the size of the octopus.
Remove octopus from broth and set aside.
In four large soup or noddle bowls, place sugar snap peas in a starburst pattern in the bottom of the bowls, top with soba noodles, twirling them into the 'nest' shape. Ladele broth over noodles and sugar snap peas. Place two baby octopus on top of each nest.
Garnish with cilantro and lime, sriracha (if you like it hot). Salt and pepper to taste.