Ingredient of the Year 2015

Best ingredient winner of Vancouver Magazine's 26th Annual Restaurant Awards

Best ingredient winner of Vancouver Magazine’s 26th Annual Restaurant Awards

Given Vancouver diners’ devotion to local seafood, the only surprise in octopus’s appearance on so many menus of late is that it didn’t happen sooner. The delicious mollusc made the leap in the past year from ethnic-restaurant specialty to full-blown Ocean Wise-approved locavore hero. L’Abattoir’s starter—pressed and slow-poached, then crowned with grilled tentacles and squid-ink crumb—highlights the creature’s range of textures, which can be snappily fresh or luxuriantly tender. With surf-and-turf cheekiness, Cibo Trattoria recently served it with a sprinkle of bone-marrow bread crumbs, while at Tacofino Gastown, it’s simply grilled and brought to the table on a tostado with jalapeño-avocado crema. Add it to your home repertoire with Fresh Sheet columnist Murray Bancroft’s simple recipe: pick up some sustainable trap-caught octopus from the Fish Counter on Main Street, braise slowly for an hour or so with a bit of salted water, then marinate overnight with olive oil, lemon juice, chili, and oregano. The next day, grill to a lovely char, slice thinly, and enjoy!