J Scott Bushey
My name is J. Scott Bushey. Some readers may know me from my Facebook postings in a variety of spicy food groups or from my numerous food-related Instructables on Instructables.com. However, most readers probably don’t know me at all. I’m not a professional chef, hot sauce maker, food producer, photographer, or blogger. I am, however, I huge fanboy of the hot-n-spicy stuff. I guess it was inevitable, being as I hail from the same hometown as CaJohns. I’m also a devout Slow Food advocate, amateur hydroponic vegetable gardener, and farmer’s market enthusiast.
A short time ago a friend alerted me to a contest for seafood tacos. Prizes were to be awarded in categories such as the best, the weirdest, etc. I figured I was a shoe-in for the weirdest. Alas, I won no prize, but my entry, Seamonster Tacos, stuck a chord with enough people that I was asked to write up the recipe for this column. Inspired by my love for sushi, this dish is essentially sushi in a taco form, kicked up with a little heat.
Makes eight tacos
Two cups steamed rice (I steamed mine in Hon Dashi, a fish stock, instead of water)
Four rashers of cooked bacon, diced and dusted with your favorite spicy rub (I used Sassy, from AmberFyre Foods)
The fruit of one mango, diced
Two small octopus tentacles
Eight sheets of Nori (toasted seaweed)
One tablespoon of sea salt
Prepare the rice and bacon in advance, being sure to keep the rice warm until needed.
Octopus tentacles can be sourced from many Asian grocery stores. To prepare the tentacles, simply immerse them in boiling water with a tablespoon of sea salt, reduce to a simmer, and allow tentacles to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Let them cool for about an hour…this should keep them from being too tough or rubbery. Dice them as fine or as coarse as you like. I prefer to cut mine into matchstick-sized strips.
Taking a pair of scissors, cut the toasted seaweed sheets into a circle, brush lightly with water, and fold each over a rolling pin or bottle into a taco shape and set aside.
Divide the octopus, bacon, rice, and mango amongst the seaweed “shells” and top with a sweet and spicy Thai-style hot sauce. I like to plate mine with Inca corn and fried plantains, sticking the tips of the tentacles into the end of a couple of the tacos for that special seamonster effect.