Arepas with Octopus and Lobster Salad
- 2 quarts red wine vinegar
- 4 Spanish onions, roughly chopped
- 4 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 head celery, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
- Handful thyme sprigs
- 2 whole octopus, about 6 pounds each, webbing cut between the tentacles
- Kosher salt
- 1 lobster, about 1 1/4 pounds
- 4 yellow bell peppers, roasted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 to 2 teaspoons honey
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
- 1/2 to 1 whole habanero, seeded and finely diced
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups white arepa flour (precooked cornmeal)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Vegetable or canola oil, for cooking
- To make the salad:
DirectionsTo make the salad:
Fill a large pot with 3 gallons water, add the red wine vinegar, onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns and thyme, and bring to a boil. Add the octopus, cover with parchment, and reduce the heat, if necessary to keep the liquid at a simmer. Simmer until quite tender but the tentacles are still attached, about 1 hour.
Bring another large pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and add the lobster. Cook 4 minutes and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Cut the tentacles from the octopus and discards the heads. Some of the skin will slough off on its own; don't worry about removing the rest. Chop roughly into bite-sized pieces. Remove the lobster claws and tail from the shell, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Toss the octopus and lobster with enough of the pepper puree to coat lightly. Add the cilantro and habanero and toss again just to combine.To make the arepas:
Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and stir in butter.
Combine arepa flour, salt, pepper and cotija in a large bowl. Add the hot milk and honey and stir until combined. Let mixture stand until milk is absorbed enough for a soft dough to form, 1 to 2 minutes (dough will continue to stiffen).
Form the dough into 12 balls (about 2 inches in diameter) and flatten between palms into 3 1/2 to 4-inch patties (about 1/3-inch thick).
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil begins to shimmer, fry 4 arepas at a time, until lightly golden brown on both sides and just cooked through about 2 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Slice the arepas in half crosswise, mound some of the salad on the bottom, and top with the other half.