Braised octopus with herb tabbouleh

Braised octopus with herb tabbouleh

By
From
Slow
Serves
4
Photographer
Tara Fisher

I haven’t always been a fan of octopus, but when I was working in Crete recently I had some as tapas and I loved it. It was char-grilled on an open fire and served with olive oil and lemon. It was great, mainly because of the way they prepared it beforehand: they hung it on a clothes line outside the restaurant and air-dried it for 24 hours before cooking, and we can achieve a similar result in the freezer. It also works well in a slow cooker or pressure cooker: try cooking it in a slow cooker for 2–3 hours on medium, or for 30 minutes in a pressure cooker.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg octopus, cleaned
3 garlic cloves
1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest and juiced
3 fresh thyme sprigs
4 tablespoons olive oil
200g small round shallots
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon caster sugar
275ml red wine
400g tinned chopped tomatoes

Tabbouleh:

Quantity Ingredient
100g bulghur wheat, soaked in cold water overnight
1 red onion
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch fresh mint
1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest and juiced
1 pomegranate
50g flaked almonds
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Freeze the octopus for at least 48 hours, then defrost it in the fridge overnight – this helps tenderize it. Rinse it well, then pat dry before cutting it into 5cm pieces. Thickly slice the garlic and place it in a bowl with the octopus, lemon zest and juice and thyme. Stir well and put in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Peel the shallots. Heat a large sauté pan until hot, add the olive oil and shallots and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the marinated octopus and sauté for 2–3 minutes, then add the bay leaves, tomato purée, sugar and red wine. Bring to the boil and cook until the wine has reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and bring back to a simmer, then cook gently for 1–1½ hours, until the octopus is very tender.
  3. Meanwhile, make the tabbouleh. Drain the bulghur wheat well and put it in a large bowl. Finely chop the red onon and roughly chop the parsley and mint. Cut the pomegranate in half and remove the seeds. To do this, cut it in half, then hit the outside with a wooden spoon while holding it over a bowl – the seeds will fall out into the bowl. Combine all the tabbouleh ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the octopus.
Tags:
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
slow cooking
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