While octopus, squid ink, razor clams, sea urchin and goat might sound a little terrifying to the home cook of the boneless-skinless-chicken-breast-variety, they're eaten quite regularly around the world and easy to prepare with a little ingenuity.
Seeing that Halloween is just a few weeks away, Mike Isabella, "Top Chef" alum and author of the newly released "Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian: Big Flavors, Small Plates," dares you to cook up something delicious.
1. Octopus (recipe below)
"People may be turned off by the raw texture, legs and tentacles, but the key to good octopus is braising to make it nice and tender, and not chewy. Then, I like to finish octopus in a pan or on a grill to get some char and smokiness into it."
2. Baby Goat (recipe below)
"People think of goat as a tougher meat they find in Indian dishes and curries, but baby goat is very similar to lamb. It's tender and mild. You can roast, braise or even confit it in olive oil."
3. Sea Urchin
"The part of the sea urchin we eat is the roe sack, so it has a strong ocean flavor. It's great served raw, but you can also use sea urchin in a vinaigrette or aioli to give it a nice, rich flavor."
4. Razor Clams
"Unlike round clams, the shell stays open and the meat hangs out of the shell. You can steam, smoke or grill razor clams and eat them whole or slice them over a salad or other dish. They have a very mild flavor compared to other clams."
5. Squid Ink
"You can find squid ink in seafood markets and specialty stores. It's a coloring agent with a bit of brininess. Use it in pastas, breads and sauces to give a deep, rich color. You get a touch of brininess and seafood flavor, but more than anything it's a coloring agent."
Smoky Octopus with Chickpeas and Artichokes
Serves 4 as a small plate
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
3 whole octopus (1/2 pound each)
1 whole lemon, quartered
8 baby artichokes (or 4 large artichokes)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup chickpea purée (recipe below)
1 Tbsp finely chopped chives