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Linguini with Grilled Baby Octopus and Herbed Bread Crumbs

Linguini with Grilled Baby Octopus and Herbed Bread CrumbsIf baby octopus is not available, you can substitute with calamari. I tried both and they were equally wonderful. Charred octopus gives this dish a great texture and flavor. If you have time, marinate the octopus overnight. But even a short time in the marinade is sufficient.

Yield 4 servings

Ingredients

[For Octopus]
1 lb. baby octopus (cleaned)
1 tbsp minced garlic clove
grated lemon zest and lemon juice from half lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt pepper

[For Herbed Bread Crumbs]
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp panko
1 tbsp Italian parsley (chopped)
1/2 tbsp mint (chopped)
pinch or more salt

[pasta]
3/4 lb Linguini (dry)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic clove
a pinch of red pepper flakes
salt
black peper

Method

1. Separate the baby octopus head and tentacles and put them in a bowl or a zipper bag.

2. Add the minced garlic clove, lemon zest, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well, massaging it all with your hands. Keep the mixture in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes up to overnight.

3. Make the herbed bread crumbs: Heat the olive oil in a small fry pan over medium heat and add panko. Stir constantly until panko is golden brown. Do not burn. Remove from heat and add the parsley, mint and salt. Set it aside.

4. Grill the octopus: When you are ready to cook the octopus, heat a grill pan until it's really hot. Or you can use an outdoor grill. Grill the heads for 2 minutes on each side and tentacles for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are slightly charred. Do not over cook. Cut tentacles into quarters.

5. Pasta: Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Boil the linguini until al dente. Save 1/2 cup of cooking water.

6. Assemble: In a large fry pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and the red pepper flakes and cook until they are fragrant without burning. Add the cooked linguini and the grilled octopus and toss well. Add the reserved pasta water and toss everything again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Plate the pasta and top with herbed bread crumbs right before serving.

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