I like to braise big octopus so it’s tender and sweet and delicious. You can eat it just like that, but I also like to give it a bit of a grill afterwards, simply to add a little smoky aroma and a slightly crunchy texture to the outside.
- 1 x 500 g octopus, cleaned (see Note)
- 200 ml dry white wine
- 1 lemon slice, plus extra lemon wedges, to serve
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp dried Greek oregano
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra, to serve
- kalamata olives, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 20 minutes
Place octopus in a saucepan with wine, 300 ml water, ½ teaspoon of salt, lemon slice, bay leaves and half the oregano. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. The octopus should sit below the surface of the water; weigh down with a plate to submerge, if necessary. Cook octopus for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool in cooking liquid.
Drain octopus and cut into large chunks, then lightly brush with oil. Heat a barbecue or chargrill pan to hot and grill octopus, turning, for 4 minutes or until lightly charred. Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil, top with remaining oregano, and serve with lemon wedges and olives. For a heartier meal, I also like to serve it with some bread and a salad.
• Dried Greek oregano is sold on branches, from select delis and greengrocers. Substitute regular dried oregano.
• To prepare octopus, make a small slit lengthwise through head of octopus andremove the ink sac, taking care not to break it as it stains the flesh, and rinse octopuswell. Remove the eyes by making a couple of slits around them. Using your fingers, remove the hard 'beak' by pushing it through the centre of the tentacles and discard. You can ask your fishmonger to do this for you.
Photography Alan Benson. Food Preparation Tobi Armbruster. Styling Michelle Crawford.
As seen in Feast magazine, October 2014, Issue 36.