Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Octopus with Gazpacho, Mozzarella & Green Beans

My father says that my grandfather used to catch his own octopuses (/octopi?) and would bite down on them and beat the life out of them with a hammer before cooking them.  This was supposed to tenderize the meat.  Now I got my octopus from the market, I kind of gently tapped it a few times with a meat tenderizer..and it was okay.  Admittedly it could have been more time but I felt awkward exerting that much force and anger onto a poor octopus. 
Do you know how octopuses mate?  The male octopus inserts one arm into the female's head. Sometimes the arm just detaches, so the male essentially gives the female his arm until she is ready to fertilize the legs.   I saw this on QI heehee.

Anyway, back to the consumption of octopuses ---  so how do you cook an octopus.  The guides here and here are quite helpful.  Most recipes call for you to poach it in some sort of homemade stock with aromatics but I just poached it in water. 

I saw something similar in a magazine, octopus with mozzarella and gazpacho but I can't for the life of me remember where I saw it.   So, unfortunately this wasn't an original idea.  Nonetheless, it's nice a light and makes a great summer appetizer.  

serves 4
20 cherry tomatoes
1 small red pepper
1 small red onion
1 large clove of garlic
½ cucumber, peeled
extra virgin olive oil
cider vinegar

2 small octopuses, cleaned

Green beans
Mozzarella, shredded
1 lemon, zest

Beat the octopus with a meat tenderizer for a couple of minutes.  Alternatively, freeze the octopus and then thaw it.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and put the octopus in. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes.   Here's a more detailed guide on how to cook octopus.

Cut a small cross at the bottom of each tomato – not all the way through, just to pierce the skin. Plunge them in boiling water for 30 seconds and take out. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins of, roughly chop, get rid of excess juice and put in food processor. Roughly chop the pepper, onion, garlic and cucumber, then place them in the food processor as well. Blend, then add olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Reserve.

Put the green beans in boiling water and blanch until tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and olive oil.

Chop the octopus into bite size pieces. Put some olive oil in a pan and pan fry the octopus just to sear it on all sides, then season with salt and olive oil as well.

Plate up by putting some gazpacho on the plate, then place the green beans on top, then the shredded mozzarella, octopus and lemon zest.

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