Ceviche is a traditional way to eat on the beach in Mexico, especially in Nayarit. It is most commonly made with tuna or shrimp, but at the Four Seasons Punta Mita, their octopus version is as good and local as it gets. You can even go out and catch it yourself, then prepare it with Chef José Salas for a true ocean-to-table experience. Served with large chips, the crunch of the tostadas makes it fun and easy to eat.
- To prepare the octopus:
- 2 fresh octopus (1-pound each), cleaned and rinsed well
- 1 cup mirepoix (roughly chopped celery, onion, and carrot)
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ bunch of parsley
- Pinch of salt, to taste
- To prepare the ceviche:
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup diced cucumber
- ½ cup diced tomato, seedless
- 1 serrano chili, diced (seedless if you don’t want it too spicy)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 12 corn tostadas or a bag of tortillas chips
- ½ cup chipotle aioli (your favorite recipe or store bought is fine)
- Cut the tentacles in ¼-inch cubes or slices.
To prepare the octopus:
Wash the octopus under cold water and rinse well. Bring ¾ gallon of water to a boil, add the octopus and reduce the heat to a simmer, skimming off the foam from time to time. When all the foam is gone, add the mirepoix and bay leaf to the water. Continue simmering for approximately 1 hour until the octopus is cooked and tender. (The octopus must always be submerged in water. Add more water, if needed.) When cooked, strain and let cool down. Cut off the tentacles individually and reserve.
Note: The head of a small octopus is not substantial—with a sheath-like casing like a balloon. It’s also thin and less flavorful than the tentacles. You can choose to dispose of the head and not use it in the ceviche. But if not disposing, the hardest part of prepping the octopus head is removing the “beak” (mouth). Start by slicing off the head (work over the sink) and flip the octopus over to remove the beak, which is in the middle of all the legs. It does actually look like a bird’s beak. Use a paring knife to slice around it, then as if coring a tomato, push it through to pop out the other side and remove. Chop and cook with the tentacles.
To prepare the ceviche:
Mix all ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve chilled on crispy corn tostadas or with tortillas chips on the side.
Optional: customize your ceviche adding or changing ingredients to your liking such as diced avocado, jalapeño, sweet corn, bell peppers, mango, or pineapple. You can also grill the octopus before cutting and then served as a warm ceviche. Serves 4.
Chef Salas recommends a chilled Cora Beer, the resort’s own artisan beer, while sommelier Alfredo Sánchez prefers the Casa Grande Chardonnay, a Mexican wine from the Parras Valley in Coahuila. Surprisingly rich, with hints of butter and oak, the wine has a delicious, well-balanced acidity and vibrant finish, that perfectly complements the smokiness of the chipotle aioli and sweetness of the octopus.