On the weekend we had a lovely gathering with friends - it was a planned 'eatathon' so we were all tasked with preparing and cooking some of our favorite dishes. Our part was of course lamb, and traditional New Zealand desert - Pavlova. As usual we all went way over the top, but that is all part of getting together and enjoying a Saturday night with exceptional food and great company.
One of our friends sparked the idea of offering 'something different' by preparing his specialty octopus appetizer - which was so incredibly delicious I would go as far as saying it was dish of the day.
Most people are afraid at the idea of cooking octopus or squid. We have all had that experience of nearly choking, or chewing and chewing trying to be polite to the people in front of us (or the cook) while really wanting to get rid of what is in our mouth. Living in Hawaii taught me that whilst it is a popular dish, it is not an easy one. The Hawaiian secret is to soak the octopus overnight in milk or coconut milk, which makes it insanely tender. They then crumb it with a Macadamia crust and serve it with thousand island sauce. Any of you that have been to Hawaii have no doubt experienced this delicious Island dish that keeps many returning for more.
Dave's Octopus dish is far healthier, crazily tasty and is best served with 61 Hundred Sourdough bread drenched in olive oil and salt and toasted on the grill. I have put his recipe below for those of you keen to give something different a go, and demystify the idea of chewy octopus. You will see all the time is in the prep which can be done a day ahead of time so the serving process is very quick.
Like a lot of seafood octopus is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (brain and heart healthy food) and a low content of saturated fat. It also provides a good dose of Vitamin B12, selenium, iron, copper and protein, among other nutrients.
DAVE'S OCTOPUS RECIPE
Recipe is for 1 octopus
Place the whole octopus in boiling water with a little salt for 25 minutes
At the same time chop a whole onion in large pieces and sauté in olive oil until nearly translucent
Add 4 chopped garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of paprika
After 25 minutes pull octopus from water and put in an ice bath to cool it quickly
Remove the beak (everything else is edible)
I suggest cutting the head into large rings (ref. calamari rings) and individually cut the tentacles from each other, leaving them long
Stir the octopus pieces into the onion/garlic mix and cover on medium to low heat for 40 minutes flipping 2-3 times
Place the octopus in a bowl with some of the braising liquid and refrigerate for anything from 1 hour to overnight
When you are ready to eat grill on high for 5-7 minutes to add a little char on the outside
Plate and drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon
Serve with grilled sourdough pieces and garlic aioli