Forbes: Top food trends of 2013

“In 5 years, the octopus will be the new prawn,” predicts Joe Rieke, Operations Director for Opper Melang Restaurants, including Seattle’s Ballard Annex Oyster House, “because prawns will not be around anymore, because we ate them all.”So octopus is spreading its tentacles far from its traditional base of Italian, Spanish and Japanese restaurants. Imports increased by nearly 40 percent between 2010 and 2012. Lee Wolen, chef de cuisine at the Lobby restaurant at the Peninsula Chicago, calls it a challenging ingredient. “When it’s done right, it’s amazing, although it is very commonly mishandled and often overcooked or undercooked.” One of his preparations (pictured) includes fennel, grapes, and morcilla. “In today’s food culture, people are more likely to go outside their comfort zone and try something new,” says Chef Zach Walrath of the Florentine in Chicago, who seasons his grilled octopus with giant white beans, pancetta, frisee, squid ink aioli, and saffron vinaigrette. “It’s a little funky on the plate, with the tentacles and suction cups, but it’s also delicious.”
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