Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Octopus on toast? mastering a sea monster

Who doesn’t love a good bruschetta? This popular Italian antipasto is so much more than a simple piece of toast, though, at the same time, that is exactly what it is:posh toast. Yet, a good bruschetta, at its most basic level – crispy on the outside and slightly chewy in the middle, rubbed with garlic, and drizzled with good olive oil – can make almost anyone happy? A simple bruschetta is great, but it can go so many ways; the variation of possible toppings is endless!
Octopus on toast? not in my lifetime I hear you say!!
I know it sounds weird, but this marinated griddled octopus, sitting on top of a spiced up Portuguese sweet potato mash, is seriously delicious.
Cake with cheese? Not in my life time!

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Cake with cheese? Not in my life time!

Read more:
Twitter: | Facebook:
Cake with cheese? Not in my life time!

Read more:
Twitter: | Facebook:
Cake with cheese? Not in my life time!

Read more:
Twitter: | Facebook:
Well… have you ever thought of putting octopus tentacles on bruschetta, with a smear of a garlicky lemony sweet potato, olive and chilli spread and a sprinkling of fresh coriander? Because I have… and believe me it works! try it for yourself.This is my wintery way of mastering octopus.In the summer I will probably opt for a lighter spread of white bean butter, lime and horseradish.I used Portuguese sweet potato for this but the original recipe cited regular mashed potato.For those sweet potato fans among you this is the Portuguese purple skinned sweet potato not the orange fleshed Spanish variant.For non sweet potato admirers substitute a white fleshed potato variety that you would normally use for mash.
Octopus on toast
Serves 8 as a starter
I small octopus,cooked
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup (250ml) olive oil
2 thick slices white bread,crusts removed
4 cloves garlic
500g (1lb potatoes of your choice,boiled and mashed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1Tbsp pitted and finely chopped black olives
2 tsp seeded and finely chopped red chilli
1tsp finely chopped lemon zest
Cook the octopus

1 small onion
1 small carrot
3 bay leaves
6 black pepercorns 
Bring the water to the boil.Peel the onion and slice it thinly.Scrub the carrot and slice it into thin coins.Add the onion ,carrot,bay leaves and peppercorns to the water.

Dunk the monster into the boiling water.As soon as it returns to the boil,lift it out ( yes i know,unfortunately no tips here for handling a slippery cephalod with tongs and other assorted batterie de cuisine) leave it for a few seconds then return it to the pan. Repeat,then leave to simmer for about 40 minutes.Test it for tenderness by slicing off a tiny piece.If it is still tough,leave to simmer for for anything up to 30 minutes more,making the sign of the cross over your chest hoping for success.If it isn´t tender then, it probably won´t ever be.

Place the octopus in a ceramic or glass bowl.Combine the vinegar,oregano and1/4 cup of oil and pour over the octopus.Cover and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.Cut each slice of bread into quarters.Place on a baking tray and toast in the oven until golden.Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.To make the sauce,place the garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt in a pestle and mortar and pound until soft and creamy.Place in a bowl and add the mashed potato and lemon juice.Whisk the mixture continuously while slowly adding the remaining olive oil. When the sauce is light and fluffy,fold in the parsley,olives,chilli and lemon zest.heat heavy based  frying pan over high heat and sear the octopus forb 2-3 minutes on both sides until coloured.Remove and cut into quarters.Place a heaped tablespoon of the sauce on each of the bread squares and top with the octopus.

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