700 gmRoma tomatoes, coarsely chopped2 eachcelery stalks, carrots and baby fennel bulbs, coarsely chopped1½onions, coarsely chopped1leek, coarsely chopped1parsnip, coarsely chopped¼celeriac, coarsely chopped2garlic heads, halved2 sprigs eachdill, basil and thyme2fresh bay leaves2 kgoctopus tentacles1fennel bulb, shaved on a mandolin, fronds reservedFennel purée2 tspfennel seeds30 mlextra-virgin olive oil4fennel bulbs, coarsely chopped½onion, finely chopped150 mlvegetable stock50 gmsoftened butterTomato and olive salad30 mlolive oil, plus extra for drizzling500 gm (about 1 punnet each)red and yellow cherry tomatoes50 gmpitted green olives20 gmcapers, finely chopped20 gmcaperberries, thinly sliced½garlic clove, finely chopped1long red chilli, finely chopped60 mldry white wine25 mlred wine vinegar
Combine tomato, vegetables, garlic and herbs in a stockpot with 4 litres water and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, blanch tentacles (1 minute). Refresh, drain, wipe with absorbent paper then add to stock. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender (4-5 hours). Set aside in liquid, keep warm.
Meanwhile, for fennel purée, tie fennel seeds in muslin. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add fennel, onion and fennel seeds, stir occasionally until vegetables are tender (5-7 minutes). Add stock, cover, stir occasionally until vegetables are very tender (4-6 minutes), transfer to a blender, blend until smooth. Pass through a sieve, add butter, season to taste.
For tomato and olive salad, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add tomatoes, olives, capers, caperberries, garlic and chilli and stir occasionally until tomatoes soften (8-10 minutes). Deglaze with wine and vinegar, season to taste.
Remove octopus from liquid, slice thickly. Serve with fennel purée, tomato and olive salad, shaved fennel and fennel fronds.
This recipe is from the May 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet