I have eaten octopus at Japanese restaurants – pondered those big tentacles at the fish market – eaten Vietnamese style stir fried baby octopus many times – marvelled at the giant squid at the Te Papa museum in Wellington, New Zealand. Maybe it all came together. I had to make something with octopus tentacles…
Getting this right took quite a bit of research. Octopus is made up of proteins that need to be cooked for an extended period of time, otherwise it is not at all tender. So plan ahead for this one. This dish is cooked slowly in the oven for a couple of hours in a vegetable and red wine stock. Then it is grilled with a balsamic vinegar and chilli glaze. Such an interesting texture and taste deserved an appropriately robust sauce. Black garlic blended with anchovies proved the ideal accompaniment. If you can’t get black garlic, roast a head of garlic slowly for at least an hour and use that.
This makes a good main course if served together with a salad. A smaller helping would make a good appetizer or tapas dish.
Balsamic glazed octopus on a black garlic and anchovy puree
- 600 g octopus tentacles
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 large onion
- 1 head garlic
- 1 large tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 30 g butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 4 cloves black garlic
- 30 g anchovies
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of a lemon
- 1 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp roasted chilli sauce
- Heat the oil and butter in a skillet
- Add roughly chopped onion
- Cut head of garlic across its width. Lay cut side down in the skillet with the onions
- Once the onions are softening, add the chopped celery, and chopped carrot
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes
- Add the roughly chopped tomatoes and stir in
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes
- Add coriander seeds, pepper corns, and paprika
- Add red wine vinegar, red wine, and water.
- Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes
- Add some olive oil to the the base of a casserole dish
- Wash the octopus tentacles and place in the casserole dish.
- Pour the vegetables and stock into the casserole dish and cover
- Place in the oven at 140 degC for about 2 hours
- Start testing for tenderness at 1.5 hours. Remove when tender.
- Once the octopus is tender, remove from the vegetables and stock and allow to cool
- Once cool, the purple skin should rub off easily with a paper towel
- Mix 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp sugar, and 1/2 Tbsp roasted Chilli sauce
- Pour into a skillet and reduce by half
- Add the octopus to the skillet and cook 1 minute each side.
- Transfer octopus to the grill or broiler and cook until starting to char