Octopus with Capers
People often consider octopus to be tough, but if cooked well it is nothing of the sort. One of the great things about octopus is that it is actually improved by freezing, which makes it relatively easy to get hold of. We have departed from tradition here with the addition of capers, which we feel give a welcome acidity to the dish. The method below has a certain madness to it, but Nieves’s mother, a great authority on the subject, is certain that it makes a difference.
|1||large double-suckered octopus, frozen (about 3.5–5kg)|
|1||large white onion, peeled and sliced|
|1||bay leaf, fresh if possible|
|50ml||extra virgin olive oil|
|Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|2 tbsp||chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley|
First, defrost the octopus. Then fill the largest pan or casserole you have with salted water and bring to the boil.
Dip the octopus 3 times into the boiling water, for 3 seconds each time, then place it in the boiling water with the head facing upwards and reduce the water to a simmer. Add the onion and bay leaf and cook for 1 hour, then turn the octopus over so that the head is facing down towards the bottom of the pan and cook for a further 30 minutes.
Take the octopus out of the water and allow to cool on a tray or draining board. Slice the tentacles into 0.5cm rounds and discard the head.
Heat the 500ml of olive oil to 80°C in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan and fry the pieces of octopus for 2 to 3 minutes – you will need to do this in two batches. Remove from the oil and drain well.
To serve, arrange the octopus prettily on a wooden board or serving plate while still warm. Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and scatter the capers over. Sprinkle with paprika, season with salt and pepper and finally sprinkle with the chopped parsley.