Case Dighero, of Edible Culture and the Metro-billy Journals, is a founder and visionary in Northwest Arkansas’ culinary movement; as longtime Citiscapes Magazine food editor, restaurateur, and cultural influencer who coined and helped launch the burgeoning High South food movement. In addition to his media, literary projects, Dighero also hosts several popular food centric public programs at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, including High South Moments, the CR(EAT)E food series, and DISH, a dynamic program celebrating the inspiration of women in art and culinary. You can also catch Case as co-host of the popular podcast “Soul Men of the High South.”
Charred Baby Octopus with Olives, Pickled Peppers, and Fresh Basil Oil is used as a salad of sorts, melding sexy, exotic octopus with briny, green and black olives, alongside southern inspired pickled peppadew peppers. We procure the small, baby octopus from Richard’s Meat Market, then straight into a boiling pot of white wine and chicken stock for a quick poach, let’s say three minutes, before cooling in the fridge with a marinade of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, fresh basil, salt and pepper. After at least three hours resting in the chilled citrus bath, we “quick char” the tentacles on high heat, using a heavy press or cast iron skillet to compress the seafood against the grates. Careful not to over-cook here, we only want a tiny bit of char on the arms. Serve the octopus with an accompaniment of olives from Wholefoods, pickled red peppadew peppers, roasted garlic cloves, fresh basil leaves, and a generous drizzle of pesto olive oil.