Great with a sourdough bread or green salad, this octopus with baked beans dish is simple to prepare yet truly delicious and visually memorable.
There is some controversy about the sustainability of octopus. There is also the ethics of eating what appears to be a very intelligent living thing. This New Yorker article on Why Not Eat Octopus? sums up the issues well. When eating any living thing we need to be respectful of that life. Octopus are amazing creatures, and very tasty!
The Japanese and the Spanish, whose cuisines both feature octopus, have paid attention to this sustainability issue. The sustainability of beef production around the world is not such a good story.
There are some ingredients that can be enjoyed without any embellishment by other ingredients. They stand on their own. Octopus, like chicken and tofu, is better when paired with something else. There are simple and elegant dishes like octopus sashimi with soy sauce and wasabi. And there more complex dishes like the octopus recipes on delectabilia. But always, the octopus is a prominent member of the cast.
And so it is with this octopus with baked beans recipe. The octopus adds so much in the way of taste, texture, and visuals. Of course, the “baked beans” also have an important role to play, the stage for the featured performance. There are many baked beans recipes where the beans are not really baked. For example, this baked beans recipe on delectabilia. The baking process imparts a more complex character to the beans, befitting of the performance being supported.
Baked beans and octopus
- 400 g can of peeled tomatoes in tomato juice
- 400 g can of white cannellini beans
- 200 g cooked octopus tentacles bought frozen
- 1 kiwi fruit
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 onion large
- 1 red pepper
- 30 g butter
- 1/2 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground chilli flakes
- 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
- Mash the kiwifruit together with the soy sauce.
- Rinse the octopus tentacles (if thawed from frozen) and coat in the kiwifruit mixture. Refrigerate for 45 minutes or so.
- Preheat the oven to 170 degC.
- Finely dice the onion, red pepper, and garlic.
- In a skillet, sauté the onion and red pepper in the butter until starting to brown (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more.
- Add the can of peeled tomatoes. Stir, mashing the tomatoes into the sauce.
- Drain and rinse the cannellini beans. Stir into the tomato mixture.
- Stir in the chopped parsley, paprika, and chilli flakes.
- Remove from the heat.
- Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese.
- After the octopus tentacles have been marinating for around 45 minutes, rinse off the marinade.
- Place the octopus tentacles on top of the tomato mixture and lightly press them down into the mixture, ensuring they are still clearly visible.
- Sprinkle with the remainder of the gruyere cheese, being careful not to obscure the octopus.
- Bake for one hour in the oven. Place under the grill at the end if it needs some additional browning.
- Serve with a salad or sourdough bread.