The food of Summer: Coctél de Pulpo y Coco

 

Let me tell you one thing about living in the heat of Arizona. No, nothing about it being a ‘dry heat.’ Don’t even start with that. No. The thing about the special brand of Arizona heat is this: The human body very quickly forgets how to live with it.

Exposed skin starts to freak out as soon as sunlight touches it. Eyes and sinuses dry and quickly imitate a patch of parched earth. Ankle and finger joints swell and become stiff, which is fine since the skin has turned into sand paper and touching anything has become an unpleasant experience.

And don’t even think about eating anything hot. The thought of a steaming bowl of soup alone is enough to break you into an uncomfortable sweat, followed by the inmobility of a rattlesnake digesting a field mouse. Better to stick to the cold foods, to the tepache and cold brewed café. And seafoood. So much cold seafood.

Coctél de Pulpo y Coco

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • 1 fresh coconut
  • 2 to 3 pounds cooked octopus
  • 2 to 4 chile verde (Anaheim chiles)
  • 2 ears corn
  • Handful of green onions
  • Limes, as needed
  • Cilantro, parsley and mint, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste

Carefully cut the top off the coconut. Drain the water and chill. Scrape the meat off the inside of the shell and cut into 1/2″ pieces. Cut the octopus into 1/2″ pieces, mixing with the cut coconut meat in a non-reactive bowl. Add enough coconut water to cover, along with 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice. Cover and chill.

Roast the chile verde and ears of corn until lightly blackened. Allow the chile verde to rest while covered until cool enough to handle. Peel, remove the ribs and seeds, and cut into 1/4″ dice. Cut the corn grains away from the cob once cool enough to handle. Mix the chile and corn into the octopus and coconut.

Thinly slice the white and pale green pants of a handful of green onions. Roughly chop approximately equal parts cilantro and parsley, with only a small amount of fresh mint. Mix into the seafood, adding more coconut water and lime juice as necessary. Season with sea salt to taste.

Serve with tostadas and plenty of escabeche on the side.

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