Chef Annie Pettry was invited to join Cuisines & Cultures of Spain, Portugal, and France voyage earlier this summer as a part the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection for 2017/2018. Chef Annie has hosted an exclusive cooking demonstration on board and served up a nightly signature item in AmphorA, the main dining room on Star Legend. The intimate size of our small ships allows for high interaction between chefs and guests and the culinary demonstrations and special menu items will charm guests aboard these delightful and varied itineraries.
Chef Annie uses classic French techniques on Southern and Midwestern ingredients at her lauded Louisville restaurant, Decca, where her wood-fired cooking program is a hot attraction. With her attention to locally farmed and small production ingredients, she was an incredible Culinary Cuise Collection guide through the delicious coasts of Portugal, Spain, and France. Fans of Top Chef will recognize her from the show’s most recent season, and Pettry is an alumna of the James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp for Policy Change.

Octupus Recipe with Crispy New Potatoes and Romesco Sauce


Serves 10 people

  • Octopus 10 pounds
  • Water to cover
  • Garlic 1 head
  • Bay leaves 5 ea.
  • Wine cork 1 or 2
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Scallions, green only, sliced thin on bias 1/4 cup
  • Yield is about 3 cups
  • Dried Guajillo Chile 1 ea.
  • Red Bell Peppers 2 ea.
  • Fresno Chili 2 ea.
  • Large Ripe Tomato 1 ea.
  • Scallions 1 bunch
  • Garlic Clove 1 ea.
  • Marcona Almonds 1/4 cup
  • Bread Crumbs 1/4 cup
  • Sherry Vinegar 1/4 cup
  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar 1 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar 1 1/4 tsp
  • Sweet Smoked Paprika 1 1/2 tsp
  • Salt 1 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper 1 1/2 tsp
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 10 tbl.
  • Reserved juices from vegetables
  • Starchy New Potatoes 3 – 4 pounds
  • Water to cover
  • Salt to taste
  • Canola oil for frying 8 cups

Cooking Method

Preheat oven to 350°. Preheat a large oven ready braising pot over high heat. Wash the octopus. Cut the tentacles from the body, getting as close to the body as possible. Sear the octopus legs in the scorching hot pot. They will release a lot of liquid. Add enough water to cover the octopus and bring to a simmer. Cut the head of garlic in half widthwise leaving the skin on and add to the octopus along with the bay leaves, and wine cork(s). Cover with foil and braise in the oven until tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

(Alternately braise over low heat on the stove top.) When the octopus is fork tender, remove to pot from the oven and let the octopus cool completely in its juices. When cool, remove the tentacle from the liquid. Heat a grill, griddle, or cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Drizzle octopus with a few tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and char on all sides. Serve with romesco and crispy potatoes. Garnish with a sprinkle of scallions and pimenton.

Cover the dried guajillo chile in hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Char the red bell peppers, fresno chilies, tomato, and scallions on a hot grill, burner, or cast iron skillet. Cover charred veggies with foil and steam for 5 minutes. Peel and de-seed all peppers and tomatoes and place in a blender, reserving juices. Add the garlic, Marcona almonds, bread crumbs, sherry vinegar, aged balsamic vinegar, sugar, sweet smoked paprika, salt, and pepper to the blender. Add the reserved juices to cover 3/4 of the way up the vegetables and puree until smooth. With the blender running slowly, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow steady stream to emmulsify. Check seasoning, may need more salt, sugar, or sherry vinegar.

Wash potatoes. Keeping skin on cut into 2-inch pieces. In a large pot cover the potatoes with water by about 2 inches over the top. Season with salt. Gently boil the potatoes until soft and falling apart. Drain the potatoes and cool completely. Peheat the canola oil in a fryer or heavy-bottomed stockpot to 325°. Working in bathces fry the potatoes until they are just about to begin browning. Remove from the pan and drain. Cool completely. When ready to serve, preheat the same frying oil to 375° and fry the potatoes one last time until golden brown and crispy. Drain and season with salt.


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