I’ve always been a big fan of eating octopus and tend to order it whenever I see it on a menu. We’ve been playing around with this dish for a while and the result looks a picture, and more to the point - eats like a dream! While we’ve given you the steps to tackle the octopus prep, it can be a bit daunting so you can always ask your fishmonger to do this part for you.
Step 1: Preparing & Braising the Octopus
Turn the Octopus body inside out and remove the gut sack and beak. Turn back outside, and then rinse under cold running water to remove any slime.
Place a stockpot, ¾ full of salted water on the stovetop and bring to a rapid boil. It should taste like seawater.
In a separate large saucepan, combine the cut vegetables, garlic, lemon zest, star anise, bay leaf, red wine, water and salt. Place on high heat until simmering, then turn down to low.
Drop the octopus in the boiling salted water for 10 seconds then remove. Repeat this process twice more to blanch the octopus. Place the blanched octopus into the saucepan with the other ingredients and cook on low for 45 minutes. I like to submerge the octopus with a heavy weight, like a cast iron lid.
Once cooked, carefully remove the octopus from the cooking liquid and cool. Refrigerate until required.
Step 2: Red Capsicum Vinaigrette
Place the Dijon mustard, tomato paste, sugar, smoked paprika and sherry vinegar in a bowl, and whisk together to combine. Drizzle in the oil, whilst whisking continuously to incorporate. Stir through the red capsicum and shallot then season to taste.
Refrigerate until required.
Step 3: Squid Ink Croutons
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Using a knife, remove the crust from the baguette. Rip the inner white bread into small rough pieces and set aside. Place the butter in a small mixing bowl and stir through the squid ink to create a black butter.
Place a skillet or sauté pan on medium heat and add the squid ink butter and oil. Once melted, add the ripped up bread and toss till coated. Season with salt and pepper. Tip onto an oven tray, place in the oven and bake for around five minutes until crisp. Remove and turn out onto a paper towel to cool. Store in an airtight container until required.
Step 4: Cooking & Serving
Pre heat your barbeque or grill pan to searing hot.
Separate the tentacles of the braised octopus with a knife then lightly oil and season. Place the octopus on the hot grill and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until slightly charred. Remove from the heat then slice into smallish pieces.
Spread the grilled octopus between the plates. Add several croutons and slices of chorizo, mixed with a few Mizuna leaves. To finish, spoon over the red capsicum vinaigrette sparingly and hit with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Photography by Sarah Grace