Roger Mooking isn’t just a star chef on the Cooking Channel — he’s also a soul musician. After partnering with Mooking for the special show Red, White & Grill, we asked the creative powerhouse to combine his two passions, coming up with a playlist to go along with his new recipe, Tandoori-Style Octopus with Fennel Slaw.
Check out the playlist and his inspiration below, then scroll down for the full recipe. Then, start cooking (and dancing)!
“Escapism (Getting’ Free)” by Digable Planets
“Still Hanging On” by Lee Fields & The Expressions
“Swim Good” by Frank Ocean
Mooking says: “I picked these songs to go with this dish because most of the guests were taking a leap, trying octopus for the first time. I felt they could use some encouragement (escapism, hanging on and good swimming to honor the octopus). Plus, they are all just feel-good songs to match how that dish is: simple, tasty and refreshing.”
Tandoori-Style Octopus with Fennel Slaw
This recipe is the creation of chef Roger Mooking. To defrost octopus, unwrap and place in a bowl, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Rinse under cold running water and drain. Try simmering octopus in liquids other than water, such as wine or olive oil, to impart additional flavors.
For the octopus:
6 headless pieces octopus, each 1 lb., frozen and cleaned
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
2 Tbs. black peppercorns
6 garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
1 onion, chopped
For the tandoori marinade:
1 cup yogurt
1 Tbs. garlic, pureed
1 Tbs. ginger, finely chopped
1 Tbs. paprika
2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
3 whole allspice, seeds ground
3 cardamom pods, seeds ground
For the fennel slaw:
1/2 cup pear vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
1 cup water
1 celery stalk, finely shaved on a mandoline
1 fennel bulb, finely shaved on a mandoline, plus 1/4 cup loosely packed fennel fronts reserved for garnish
1/4 white onion, finely shaved on a mandoline
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Grapefruit segments for garnish
Lime wedges for garnish
Sea salt flakes, such as Maldon, for garnish
To prepare the octopus, place the octopus in a pot large enough to fit comfortably and add the vinegar, peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves and onion. Add enough water to cover, set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a slow simmer and skim off any foam from the surface with a ladle. Simmer until the octopus is knife-tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature in the pot with the liquid.
To prepare the tandoori marinade, in a bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic and ginger and let stand for 15 minutes to mellow the raw garlic.
Meanwhile, heat a dry fry pan over medium heat and add the paprika, peppercorns, coriander, cumin, turmeric, allspice and cardamom. Toast until the spices are aromatic, shaking the pan frequently to avoid burning.
Stir the toasted spices into the yogurt mixture and let stand so the flavors can come together, about 10 minutes. Separate half of the tandoori marinade and reserve for serving.
Remove the octopus from the cooking liquid and add the octopus to the remaining tandoori marinade. Refrigerate until ready to grill.
Meanwhile, make the fennel slaw: In a saucepan, combine the pear vinegar, red wine vinegar, honey, salt, fennel seeds and water. Bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat and add the celery, shaved fennel bulb and onion. Let steep until the liquid cools to room temperature.
Just before serving, in a bowl, toss the fennel fronds with the olive oil. Drain the cured vegetables and transfer to the bowl. Toss well until combined.
Preheat a Kamado-style grill to 500°F.
Remove the octopus from the marinade (discard the marinade). Sprinkle the octopus with kosher salt and grill on the lowest rack until crispy at the ends and the flesh is heated through. Transfer to a cutting board and cut the large tentacles into individual pieces, and then in half crosswise. The smaller tentacles can be left whole. Scatter the octopus on a plate and top with the fennel slaw in a row down the middle. Garnish with grapefruit segments, lime wedges, sea salt and the remaining tandoori marinade. Serves 4 to 6.