I am proud to welcome Silvia Gregori, a personal chef from San Francisco, and author of the fantastic blog, Citron et Vanille. Her cuisine is fused with French and Italian influences, reflecting her distinctive familiar background. Not only is her blog well-written, but her recipes are delicate and sophisticated. Silvia is a true artist as cook, wonderfully plating her balanced and harmonious courses. Get ready for some serious Mediterranean Chic.
When Lazaro wrote an article about, Inspiration: Citron et Vanille, on Blogcritics, I felt more than flattered. Then when he requested I write a guest post for his blog Lazaro Cooks, which is a gold mine of information and creativity, I was very excited. In truth, I was thrilled that he would allow me to express myself on this blog; where he shares his beautifully written posts and mouth watering dishes with its unique creative touch.
Obviously if you are reading this, you know Lazaro and his wonderful personality of encouraging everyone. He always has the right words to make you feel like a star. I humbly accepted because he cooks and writes with style and more so, he has an incredible knowledge of the world’s best chefs and gastronomy. We do share the same culinary "foundations", so it is my great pleasure to share this with you.
I decided to feature a lovely and uncomplicated dish inspired by one of Alain Ducasse's recipes (who is one of my favorite modern chefs) that I changed and twisted around. I nonetheless kept its "true spirit" which is the combination of Asian and Western flavors, and yes it works "à merveille".
What's more Asian than green tea soba noodles and sea weed? Or more Mediterranean than Kalamata olives and sun dried tomatoes? Not many things. Well when East meets West, their encounter creates a volcano of new irresistible flavors, that match and complete each other to perfection...and yes there is a lot of chemistry between those two!
I wanted to feature octopus, often used in Mediterranean cuisine, because I noticed many people tend to look at it as an unappealing and fastidious ingredient to prepare. I somehow wanted to show the other "face" of octopus, a really fabulous and light mollusk to consume.
Green tea soba can be purchased in any Asian supermarket, I also used sea weeds that I bought in France, I am certain than any Asian supermarket carries them too in the US. Basically they look like spaghetti strands (called "Spaghetti de Mer" in French and coming from Brittany, or also known under the more proper name of Himantalia Clongata). They have a subtle flavor unlike some other sea weeds. In France they are used to decorate dishes, add some colors and texture with a nice Asian touch.
Ingredients for 2-3
5.29 oz (or 150 g) green tea soba noodles
8 baby octopuses
2 tbs sun dried tomatoes, chopped
8-9 Kalamata olives, chopped
Some sea weed strands, soaked in water
1.5 tbs soy sauce
1.5 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs celery leaves, for garnish
Juice of one lemon
Soak sea weed strands in water for 15 minutes, and then cook for 15 minutes in the soaking water.
Clean octopus and cook in boiling water with lemon juice for about 30 minutes. Drain and cut in medium size pieces. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine, oyster sauce, soy sauce and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Pour in a mixing bowl. Add octopus, sun dried tomatoes and olives.
Cook soba noodles in salted boiling water for about 5-7 minutes while still firm. Place in a chilled water and let them cool.
Add noodles to the bowl containing the other ingredients. Toss well and add celery leaves for garnish.