Octopus is one of those creatures you either love or are freaked-out by. Or perhaps you like eating it, but prefer to close your eyes and not think about it too much. As was the case when I gave some of this to my visiting mother-in-law when she was in town. She loves the taste but struggles with the sight of the nobbly tentacles. On the other hand, they were lapped up with gusto when presented at a lunch with friends at my place not all that long ago.
I was introduced to it at a very young age. My father used to head out to a pier or breakwater in Wollongong, when we lived down there in the 1970’s, spearing the octopus with a makeshift 3-pronged device that was often quite fruitful.
Once brought home, my mother pressure-cooked the octopus and served it in a warm or cold salad with potato and lots of garlic. Now that I mention it, I need to acquire the recipe!
Today, however, I can only give you the recipe for my charred octopus that has been given a 4-hour pre-treatment with herbs at a very low temperature. The slow cooking renders the octopus to the most perfectly tender texture, with subtle herbal notes and a gentle slap of chilli from a quick marinade and dressing.
Lemon juice is usually enough, but I’ve tricked it up with my quick homemade mayo that’s tinted with fresh beetroot. Plus it makes it look pretty!
Tip – You can prepare the octopus ahead of time up to the point of it coming out of the oven. In doing this, you can leave the cooked octopus in the fridge overnight, covered, and bring it out about an hour before tossing in the oil and spices the following day. Then just toss it on the bbq as per the recipe. Easy stuff.