Octopus, radicchio, macadamia

Octopus, radicchio, macadamia

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

Octopus can be a challenge to grill as all of its strength and muscle structure is distributed throughout its eight arms, making it quite firm and rubbery. Like its cephalopod cousin the squid, octopus is either best cooked very quickly or very slowly and should be tenderised before cooking – it is said that the Greeks would traditionally beat octopus forty times on a rock.

At the restaurant, we use a medium octopus from the Roaring Forties waters of the Bass Strait. They are captured using a specially designed pot and then tenderised. The intense heat of the embers cooks the octopus really quickly, maintaining its tenderness. Here, cooking over a wood fire imbues octopus with a smoky char, complemented by the bittersweet radicchio and enriched with buttery guanciale and the creamy texture of macadamia which, when finely shaved, looks like parmesan.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 medium octopus, tenderised (see notes)
1 head radicchio treviso, quartered (see notes)
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
20ml aged red-wine vinegar
sea salt
zest of 1/2 orange
12 wafer-thin slices guanciale (cured pork jowl)
100g fresh macadamias, preferably shaved finely on a mandolin
12 agretti sprigs

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers and arrange a grill cooling rack directly on top.
  2. 2. Prepare the octopus. Remove the tentacles from the body, rinse under running water, and pat dry with a clean cloth.
  3. 3. Toss the radicchio with half of the olive oil and vinegar, and grill over the embers for 2 minutes on each side.
  4. 4. Grill the octopus over the embers for 2 minutes on each side, turning once. Season with sea salt and remove from the heat.
  5. 5. Dress the radicchio and octopus with the remaining olive oil and vinegar, and the orange zest.
  6. 6. Place the guanciale on a metal tray 20 cm (8 in) above the embers and gently warm until translucent.
  7. 7. Slice each tentacle into 4 pieces and place on a serving plate among the leaves of charred radicchio.
  8. 8. Finish with strips of warm guanciale, pour over the combined juices and scatter with the shaved macadamias and agretti sprigs.

NOTES

  • Feel the tentacles to assess tenderness – they should feel limp, not rubbery.

    Radicchio treviso has a less bitter profile than normal radicchio. If using normal radicchio, you may wish to use a sweeter vinegar, such as Pedro Ximénez vinegar, instead of aged red-wine vinegar.
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