Always use fresh octopus that hasn’t been frozen, otherwise the end product will be very rubbery.
- 300 gm baby octopus (about 4), cleaned
- 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, bruised
- 1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
- 200 gm dried chickpeas, soaked in plenty of cold water overnight, drained
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 large fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
Wild seaweed dressing
- 10 large English spinach leaves, blanched and squeezed dry
- 3 anchovy fillets, minced
- ¼ lemon, finely grated rind only
- 200 gm laverbread (see note)
- 1For wild seaweed dressing, pound spinach in a mortar and pestle to a fine paste (8-10 minutes), add anchovy and lemon rind and pound to combine. Transfer to a bowl, add laverbread and mix well to combine.
- 2Combine octopus, 30ml oil, garlic, lemon rind and oregano in a non-reactive bowl, cover and set aside at room temperature.
- 3Combine stock, chickpeas, onion and rosemary in a saucepan, bring to the boil and cook over medium-high heat until chickpeas are tender (25-30 minutes). Drain and reserve 350ml liquid (discard rosemary). Heat remaining oil in a frying pan, add chickpea mixture and cumin and sauté to infuse flavours (5 minutes). Transfer to a food processor and process, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to form a smooth paste. Season to taste.
- 4Transfer octopus mixture to a saucepan and cook over very low heat until tender and gelatinous (20-25 minutes). Season to taste.
- 5Combine fennel, lemon juice and parsley, season to taste and toss to combine.
- 6Smear seaweed dressing over plates, divide chickpea purée among them, top with octopus and fennel salad. Serve with <a href="braised_artichokes_with_asparagus_and_pecorino.htm">braised artichokes with asparagus and pecorino</a>, prosciutto and crusty bread.
Note Laverbread is cooked, chopped laver (seaweed). Available from Simon Johnson.