Lobster and Octopus Salad with Veal Sweetbreads, Foraged Mushrooms, Lovage, and Espelette Pepper

Adapted by StarChefs.com
July 2013
Yield: 8 portions


One 4- to 5-pound octopus
1½ gallons water
½ cup kosher salt
1 wine cork
1 large bay leaf
1 head garlic, halved
2 ounces apple-wood smoked bacon
1 bunch thyme
Veal Sweetbreads
2 pounds veal sweetbreads
2 pods star anise
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
8 juniper berries, crushed
3 pods cardamom, crushed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
½ cup kosher salt
2 bay leaves
1 gallon whole milk yogurt
Pickled Meyer Lemon
2 Meyer lemons
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
½ cup lemon blossom honey
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
⅓ cup salt
1¾ cups sugar
2 bay leaves
3 pods cardamom, crushed
extra virgin olive oil
Red Lobster Tails
8 ounces salted butter
Marinade injector
Fava Beans
5 cups water
3 cups shelled fava beans
½ cup kosher salt
Juice of ½ lemon
Espelette Pepper Oil
¼ cup Espelette pepper
3 ounces coarsely chopped red bell pepper
¾ cup Arbequina olive oil
kosher salt
1 tablespoon Banyuls vinegar
To Assemble and Serve
1 ounce grapeseed oil
1 bunch asparagus, peeled below tip, fibrous ends removed
1 pound foraged mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed
1 teaspoon thinly sliced garlic
1 teaspoon shallot, brunoise
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter
sel gris
black pepper
parsley leaf, finely chopped
2 ounces dry white wine
veal glace
1 teaspoon celery
clarified butter
Espelette oil


For the Octopus:
Heat oven to 350°F and bring octopus to room temperature. Fold octopus head inside out and clean away any ink and dirt. Fold head back, peel off skin, and discard. Using a paring knife, cut head off, starting below the eyes, and remove beak. Reserve for other uses. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and drop in cork. Temper octopus by dipping body into boiling water 5 times for 10 seconds. Place tempered octopus in 4-inch hotel pan with suction cups facing upward. Add cork, water, bay leaf, garlic, and bacon. Cover with foil and braise in oven 1 hour. Transfer octopus to an ice bath filled with poaching liquid. Cool completely. Clean away gelatin from tentacles. Portion into 3-inch pieces.

For the Sweetbreads:
Soak sweetbreads in salted milk overnight. Remove from milk and rinse well. Toast spices until fragrant and wrap in a cheesecloth sachet. In a heavy pot, combine milk, salt, and spice sachet and bring to simmer. Remove from heat and cool to 180°F; then add sweetbreads and steep 40 minutes, covered, or until medium-rare, agitating pot occasionally for even cooking. Pour sweetbreads and cooking liquid into container filled with ice and cool completely. Clean away veins, blood spots, and membrane from sweetbreads and place in 2-inch hotel pan. Set a second hotel pan directly on top, add a 20 pound weight, and set in refrigerator to press overnight. Cut pressed sweetbreads into 4-ounce pieces.

For the Pickled Meyer Lemons:
In a medium saucepot, briefly blanch lemons in boiling water then rinse under cold water. Rub lemons with a towel and slice into ¼-inch thick rounds, removing any seeds. In a medium saucepot bring vinegar, water, honey, and spices to a boil and remove from heat. Cover and leave spices to infuse until completely cooled. Strain. Return liquid to stove and bring to simmer. Pour pickling liquid over lemons and steep overnight. Strain lemons from liquid and finely mince. Cover in extra virgin olive oil and refrigerate.

For the Lobster:
Heat oven to 475°F.  In a small saucepot, melt butter and fill injector. Separate lobster tail from body and inject butter at 4 points through the bottom of the shell. Skewer tails with metal skewers to straighten. Roast in oven 8 minutes and rest until cool. Remove skewer and gently remove meat from shell. Cut flesh in half lengthwise and devein. Meat should be slightly under-cooked.

For the Fava Beans:
In a large saucepot, bring water, lemon, and salt to a boil. Add fava beans and cook 2 minutes. Drain and cool in ice bath. Remove outer skin and reserve flesh.

For the Espelette Oil:
In a blender, add ingredients and blend on low speed for 2 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth and reserve.

To Assemble and Serve:
In large cast iron skillet over medium flame, heat grapeseed oil and sear asparagus and mushrooms until mushrooms are golden on one side. Flip mushrooms and add Octopus, Fava Beans, garlic, shallot, lovage, parsley, and thyme. Toss to combine. Cook 2 minutes, deglaze with white wine and reduce au sec. Add 1 tablespoon butter and veal glace, remove from heat, add celery leaf, and season.

Season pressed Veal Sweetbreads and sear in clarified butter until deeply browned and crisp. Flip sweetbreads and lower heat. Add Roasted Lobster Tails, remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and 2 tablespoons chopped Pickled Meyer Lemons and baste. Season with sel gris, black pepper, parsley, and thyme.

In entrée bowl, spoon of Espelette oil around plate. Arrange Roasted Lobster Tail, following curve of plate. Place Veal Sweetbreads in center of tail and top with Octopus, Asparagus, and Mushrooms. Garnish with Pickled Meyer Lemon, lovage, and Fava Beans.