an octopussy lunch

titleofimageWe were lounging around, Bean and I, on a lazy Saturday afternoon when she looked up at me over the top of marie claire and said "I want to cook octopus." "Ok", said I. And then proceeded to forget all about it until, one afternoon, the parents greeted me with a "Is 400grams enough?" on my return home from work. Apparently Bean had told one and all about her octopus plans, and that I had been enlisted as number one kitchen hand/advisor.


So we made a full meal of it, Bean and I. Kicked things off with some freshly sliced bread, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and hommus. Added some lemons to the tray, a bowl of couscous, some salad and brought it home with chargrilled octopus - swimming in fresh parsley, lemon and chilli. Perfect.

chargrilled octopus
serves 4

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Ingredients for the marinade:

400g baby octopus
2 chillis (finely sliced)
4 cloves of garlic (finely diced)
2 tbs olive oil
juice and rind of 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper

Ingredients for the dressing:

1/2 bunch parsley (roughly chopped)
1/2 spanish onion (finely diced)
3 tbs olive oil
1 chilli (finely sliced)

Method:

1. Grab a big mixing bowl. Dump the ingredients for the marinade in it. Massage briefly with your fingers so all of the lovely fresh flavours permeate through the octopus.

2. Glad wrap the bowl and stick it in the fridge for at least and hour, but preferably overnight.

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octopus - ready for the fridge

3. Grab a different mixing bowl. Dump the ingredients for the dressing in it. Swirl them around with a spoon.

4. If you have a barbecue, hot it up for extra flavour else, do what we did and use a cast iron griddle pan on the stovetop. Toss about 1/4 of the octopus around the hot pan in until it's tentacles are a yummy, caramelised brown colour and the head is opaque.

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octopus - sizzling in the pan

5. As soon as the octopus is done, transfer into the bowl of dressing and swirl around to coat. Repeat with remaining octopus (in two batches so it doesn't stew in the pan). If you're using a barbecue, you can do all the octopus at once.

6. Pull the contents of the dressing bowl (now also full of octopus) into a serving plate and go-go-go!

cous cous salad
serves 4

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couscous salad

Ingredients:

1/2 cup couscous
2/3 cup boiling water
1 tsp lemon rind
a handful of grape tomatoes (halved)
1/2 bunch parsley (finely chopped)
salt & pepper

Method:

1. Have you seen the new season grape tomatoes? If not, jump to it! They're oh-so tiny - the size of a grape (surprising no?) and have just the right balance of tart gooey centre to crisp sweet flesh.

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grape tomatoes - and Bean, engaged in some chopping action

2. Tip the couscous and boiling water into a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Cover with an upturned plate. Leave it there while you do your chopping.

3. Chop the ingredients that need chopping, and when you're done, flip the plate off the top of the couscous. Magic!

4. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and toss the rest of the ingredients through. Try not to eat too many grape tomatoes in the process. And you're done!

grap tomato & bocconcini salad
serves 4

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Ingredients:
4 pieces fresh bocconcini (about 150g)
grape tomatoes
mixed salad leaves
lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)
olive oil & balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Method:

1. Lay some salad leaves onto a big platter.

2. Halve some tomatoes and scatter, artistically, on top of the leaves.

3. Tear up the bocconcini with your hands into mouth-sized pieces. Scatter artistically.

4. Squeeze lemon juice over the top. Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. Not too much - the key to this salad is lightlightlight!

5. Salt and pepper it and you're done!

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hommus, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon wedges & bread

3 bites more:

Christie @ fig & cherry said...

Delicious! I'm a big fan of octopus and couscous, but never thought to put them together for a meal. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

FFichiban said...

Oh yuummmm! Great healthy feast nom nom! Is Bean E?

How ya been anywayyy apart cooking up all these goodies?

shez said...

Christie - you're very welcome :) I can't do a meal without some sort of staple being involved, and when rice won't do, couscous is my ultimate go-to!

FFichiban - i reckon! and the best thing was, it didn't taste healthy at all. *yeah!* and yes. E is Bean, and we're both doing really well. we should do a catchup sometime. yes?

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