At Mutiny Wine Room in Houston, chef Eduardo Alcayaga draws inspiration from the Spanish dish Paella Valenciana for this menu item, which has all of the components of the classic dish, plus the addition of Merken, a spice blend of smoked goat horn peppers and coriander seed from Alcayaga’s native Chile.
Alcayaga braises octopus in garlicky chicken stock with Spanish smoked paprika.
Separately, for the rice, he sautés garlic, tomatoes and Spanish chorizo in olive oil with smoked paprika, Merken and saffron. Then he adds Tartana Bomba rice, chicken stock and vegetable stock, orange peel and bay leaves and cooks it.
Separately, he cooks Garrofón, a type of large Spanish butter bean, with a sofrito of sautéed onions, garlic, tomatoes, cumin and paprika.
One important aspect of Paella Valenciana is socarrat — the crunchy rice that forms at the bottom of the paella pan. To represent that, Alcayaga purees cooked rice, dehydrates it and fries it to make chips.
At service he grills the braised octopus over charcoal, slices it and plates it on top of the rice that has been arranged in a half-moon shape. He garnishes it with Merken and Spanish pimenton oil, microgreens, roasted salsify and the socarrat chips. He finishes it with a vinaigrette made with guindilla peppers.