Octopus Recipe

Recipe Bertus Basson Ingredients: For the pressed octopus:

  • 1.2kg octopus, cleaned
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 20g fresh flatleaf parsley
  • Salt and white pepper
For the tomato compression:
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 20g fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and milled black pepper
For the tomato water:
  • 3 tomatoes
  • Tomato seeds (see tomato compression above)
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt and milled black pepper
  • Shredded basil, to garnish
  • Good-quality olive oil
Directions: To prepare the pressed octopus, place it in cold water and bring to a slow simmer. Cook for approximately three hours. Remove from the water and cool for 15 minutes, then peel the skin off. Cut the tentacles into large chunks and slice the head. Flavour with the lemon zest, garlic, parsley and seasoning. Turn the octopus onto clingfilm and wrap in a tight cylindrical shape. Try to squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. Tie both ends and refrigerate for four hours. The natural juices will set the cylinder so that it is easy to slice. For the tomato compression, bring a pan of water to the boil and get a bowl of ice-cold water ready. Remove the eyes and score a small cross into the skin of each tomato. Put the tomatoes in boiling water until the skin is loose (about 10 seconds) and then plunge straight into the cold water. Quarter the tomatoes, remove the skin and scrape out and reserve the seeds. Trim the flesh into rectangular pieces and reserve the offcuts. Layer the tomato flesh in a square mould (7 x 7 x 1cm) with the basil leaves in between, seasoning as you go. Place a heavy weight on top and press overnight in the fridge. Remove the weight, trim the mould and slice the compression with a sharp knife. To make the tomato water, blend the tomato and the tomato seeds from the tomato compression with the basil and garlic, and season to taste. Place a piece of muslin cloth in a colander and pour in the blended mixture. Leave for about three hours to extract as much of the clear tomato water as possible. Place a slice of the octopus and a slice of tomato compression in a bowl, and flood the bowl with tomato water. Garnish with shredded basil and drizzle a little good-quality olive oil over it. Serves 6 This recipe was originally featured in the 2013 Food issue of House and Leisure.