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Octopus with Black Bean–Pear Sauce
© Michael Turek

Octopus with Black Bean-Pear Sauce

  • ACTIVE: 40 MIN

Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert is a master at weaving together unexpected ingredients, like this tender charred octopus with a sauce of salty fermented black beans and sweet pear. Finding a wine pairing for such a complex dish, however, is a challenge. "It needs a very aromatic wine, just to stand up to all the flavors," says wine director Aldo Sohm.

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  1. 1/2 small onion, sliced
  2. 6 garlic cloves, halved
  3. 2 parsley sprigs
  4. One 2-ounce piece of prosciutto
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 4 octopus tentacles (about 2 pounds total)

Black Bean–Pear Sauce

  1. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  2. 2 teaspoons Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed (see Note)
  3. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  4. 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  5. 1 small shallot, minced
  6. 1 tablespoon finely diced red bell pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeño
  8. 1/2 small Bartlett pear, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  9. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  10. 1 tablespoon minced chives

Miso Vinaigrette

  1. 1 tablespoon white or blond miso
  2. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  3. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  4. 1 teaspoon squid ink (optional)
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper

To Finish

  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  3. Salt
  4. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  5. 16 baby arugula leaves
  6. 1 small Bartlett pear, cut into very thin wedges
  1. In a large, deep skillet, combine 2 quarts of water with the onion, garlic, parsley, prosciutto and salt. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the octopus to the broth, cover partially and simmer over low heat until tender, about 1 hour; drain and pat dry.
  2. In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the black beans and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and jalapeño and cook until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pear and remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and chives.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the miso with the balsamic vinegar, oil, squid ink and 2 tablespoons of water. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a bowl, mix the olive oil with the paprika and rub it all over the cooked octopus; season with salt. In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the octopus and cook over high heat until browned all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer the octopus to a carving board and slice it crosswise 1/3 inch thick.
  5. Spread the vinaigrette on 4 plates and top with the octopus. Spoon the black bean–pear sauce over the octopus. Garnish with the arugula and pear wedges and serve.

Suggested Pairing

He suggests a spicy Gewürztraminer. For a red, he likes a fruit-forward wine with soft tannins. Try Sohm's pick—a Sonoma Zinfandel.