Start this recipe a day ahead to chill the rice bran oil for the green mustard and to freeze the smoked garlic.
- 100 ml honey, preferably wild mountain honey
- 5 smoked garlic cloves, peeled and frozen overnight
- 800 gm cleaned baby or medium-sized octopus (see note)
- 1 litre (4 cups) rice bran oil
- 2 heads Australian garlic, cloves separated and crushed (unpeeled) with the flat of a knife
- 250 ml (1 cup) clean seawater (see note)
- ½ bunch thyme
- 125 gm (about 4 leaves or ¼ bunch) green mustard leaves, chilled
- 3 tsp hot English mustard
- 2 tsp apple balsamic vinegar
- 125 ml rice bran oil, chilled overnight in freezer
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1Warm honey in a small saucepan over low heat. Slice frozen smoked garlic incredibly thinly and add to warmed honey. Simmer very gently over very low heat to infuse (20-25 minutes; or leave in a warm place overnight to infuse.) Taste the garlic; it should have a balance of honey sweetness, smokiness and slight garlic flavour. Set aside.
- 2Butterfly octopus with a small knife by inserting knife into its beak and through to its head on the propulsion side (opposite eye side), then clean out the guts including beak. Combine octopus, rice bran oil, crushed garlic, seawater and thyme in a rondeau or low-sided saucepan. Bring gently to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and braise until octopus is tender (45 minutes to 1½ hours). Cool in liquid (1-1½ hours).
- 3For green mustard, wash mustard leaves and dry well, then combine in a blender with English mustard, apple balsamic and 15ml cold water. Blend until smooth, making sure you don’t generate heat. Blending continuously on high speed, add oil quickly and steadily until all is incorporated and mixture is vibrant green (this should take about 6 seconds). Strain through a fine strainer into a bowl over ice and season to taste with salt, adding extra English mustard or apple balsamic if desired.
- 4Bring octopus to room temperature and heat a grill or coal barbecue to high heat, and grill octopus until lightly charred and warmed through (3 minutes each side). Serve seasoned with a little salt, with a big spoonful or two of green mustard, and scattered with smoked garlic.
Note Smoked garlic is available from Harris Farm Markets. If the octopus hasn't been tumbled, place in the freezer overnight to tenderise it. If clean seawater is unavailable dissolve 2 tsp fine sea salt in 1 cup water). Mustard greens, usually known as gai choy, are available from Asian grocers.