This week’s recipe was inspired by a great lunch I recently enjoyed at Paul Bert’s Epicere in Paris – grilled octopus on caponata. Sorry I know this might sound too messy or you might feel funny about handling octopus but it’s easy and I can assure you the results are delicious. I had to buy a whole octopus which was far too much for one meal for Mike and me but it’ll be great for several Spanish dishes I want to try. If you can’t face cooking the octopus you could substitute it for squid or any panfried fish. The aubergine mix is my version of caponata which originates in Sicily. Both parts to this recipe could be done well in advance.
- Ingredients (for 2)
- 1 cleaned octopus (ask your fishmonger to gut and clean it)
- 1tbsp salt
- Olive oil
- For the caponata
- 1 aubergine, cut into cubes
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar or honey
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4-5 fillets of anchovies in oil, finely chopped
- 2 tbsps capers,
- 2 tbsps finely chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Finely chopped parsley
- ½ Lemon
Fill a large pot ¾full of water, add the salt and bring it to the boil. Drop in the octopus. Bring it back to the boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes depending on the size of the octopus. Check after 30 minutes.. Drain and cool.
While the octopus is cooking start the caponata. Heat some olive oil in a pan till hot and add the aubergine. Cook till browned and soft. Remove and set aside.
If necessary add more oil to the pan then the onion. Cook till soft then add the tomatoes, sugar and lemon juice. Cook for at least 10-15 minutes till this thickens.
Add the aubergine, anchovies and capers. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and season if necessary. Finally add the parsley. Set aside until the octopus is ready.
Finally, cut off at least 1 octopus tentacle per person and toss in a little olive oil. Heat a grill pan or BBQ till hot. Quickly grill the octopus on each side.
To serve, place the caponata on each plate. Serve it warm or at room temperature. Top with octopus which has been cut into 2-3 pieces. Sprinkle on a little parsley, a little Espelette and squeeze of lemon juice.