‘This is the perfect entrée for me,’ announced Manu. ‘The octopus is cooked perfectly. Smokiness. Saltiness. Just bloody yum!’ Both he and Matt gave the starter a perfect 10 for Sophie and Katherine’s Instant Restaurant. Even the other contestants had to agree: ‘It just absolutely works. It’s unbelievable,’ the Spanish Foodies team groaned.
Here’s how you can make it at home.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
4 kg large (600g-Ikg each) octopus, cleaned
8 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 shallots, peeled and halved
4 tbs cooking salt
8 tbs extra virgin olive oil
For the green romesco
6 bunches parsley, stalks removed
2 jalapeno chillies
4 cloves garlic, peeled
160g hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
4 tsp sea salt
4tbs white wine vinegar
400ml extra virgin olive oil
For the slow roast tomatoes
1.2kg ripe medium-small tomatoes (Sampari)
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
For the jamon crumb:
50g fatty jamon, finely diced
200 ml olive oil
200g fresh breadcrumbs
To serve: micro herbs/parsley leaves, extra virgin olive oil
- Place octopus in a pressure cooker, along with the garlic, shallot, bay leaves, salt and enough water to cover.
- Bring up to pressure then turn heat down and pressure cook for 12 - 15 minutes. (The cooking time depends very much on the size of the octopus: 12 minutes if they are 600g, and 15 minutes if they are Ikg each). When done, de-pressure, remove and cool.
- Cut tentacles off legs and toss gently in olive oil.
- Preheat a barbecue to high and cook tentacles till nicely charred on each side.
For the green romesco sauce
- In a food processor, pulse chop the hazelnuts. Remove.
- Pulse chop the parsley, jalapeno and garlic. Add the chopped hazelnuts, paprika, salt, vinegar and oil and process till a thick, chunky sauce.
For the tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 150C. Halve the tomatoes, place on a baking paper lined tray, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast for 1-2 hours or until starting to dry out and brown but still juicy.
For the jamon
- Heat oil and cook diced jamon till the fat has rendered and the jamon is crisp. Remove.
- In the same oil, fry breadcrumbs till crunchy and golden. Stir through the jamon and reserve.
On each plate, spoon an 8cm diameter circle of green romesco. Place 5 overlapping tomato halves in the centre of the sauce and top with an octopus tentacle. Place a line of jamon crumb down the centre of the plate, drizzle olive oil around and garnish with a few small parsley leaves or microherbs.