Justin Smillie, the executive chef for the Il Buco restaurants in Manhattan and in Amagansett, N.Y., wanted to devise a lighter take on octopus. “I was looking for something other than the big steaky chunks you always see,” he said. So instead of cutting meaty cross-sections of the tentacles, he shaved them into ribbons the long way, quickly seared the strips on a plancha and tossed them with tiny tomatoes, herbs, a bit of Fresno chile and olive oil for his delectable, crispy octopus dish ($26, among the small plates at Il Buco Al Mare). He starts with cooked octopus and uses a meat slicer; for home cooks, a sharp knife works. He recommends marinating the strips before cooking, and also suggests threading them on skewers or tossing them with pasta or into rice dishes.
Il Buco Al Mare, 231 Main Street, Amagansett. N.Y., 631-557-3100, ilbuco.com.