OCTOPUS WITH SKORDALIA & ROASTED CAPSICUM & OREGANO SALSA
FOOD & DRINK
SERVES 10-12 AS AN ENTREE The octopus we serve at The Shed is supplied by the fabulous purveyors of fine seafood at Yellow Brick Road. It’s caught in Cook Strait and the Chathams as a by-catch of crayfishing. You can buy it at Moore Wilson’s in Wellington and Seafood Harbour in Auckland. For this dish, the octopus can be cooked a day or two before serving. FOR THE OCTOPUS 3kg cleaned octopus (this will yield about 1kg of cooked octopus) 3 sprigs of thyme a few parsley stems 3 sprigs of fresh oregano 6 bay leaves 8 cloves garlic, peeled Preheat the oven to 100℃ and have ready a roasting tray large enough to fit the octopus. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Dunk the octopus in the boiling water for 30 seconds then put in the roasting tray with the herbs and garlic. Cover with foil and put in the preheated oven. After 1 hour, check the octopus by slicing off a little piece and trying it. If it’s still chewy, continue cooking and checking every 20-30 minutes. It could take anywhere from 1-4 hours depending on the octopus. I prefer it with a little bit of bite, and it will eventually become too soft, so keep checking it. When the octopus is done, let it cool in the roasting tray then slice into 12cm pieces or any size you prefer. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. SKORDALIA 1kg Agria potatoes, peeled, chopped into chunks 6 cloves of garlic ½ cup lemon juice 1½ teaspoon salt 1 cup extra virgin olive oil Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water by at least 5cm. Bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle boil and cook until the potatoes are very soft. Meanwhile, put the garlic, lemon juice and salt in a blender and while blending, pour in the oil so that it emulsifies. Drain the potatoes and mash them well or for a finer texture, push them through a large sieve using the back of a large spoon or a firm rubber spatula. Don’t attempt to do this with cold Agria potatoes, or you’ll end up with a gluey mess. For the same reason, I don’t advise using a food processor for the potatoes. Stir the garlic-lemon-oil mix into the potatoes. ROASTED CAPSICUM & OREGANO SALSA 4 red capsicums ½ red onion, finely diced 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried) 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leafed parsley 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tomatoes, finely diced sliced red chilli or chilli flakes to taste (optional) Preheat the oven to 220℃. Put the capsicums on a roasting tray and cook, turning occasionally, until the skins are blistered and begininning to blacken. Leave the capsicums to cool then rub the skins off and discard, along with the seeds. For ease this can be done in a big bowl of water. Dice the capsicums finely. Put in a bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients. This can be made a day in advance. TO SERVE olive oil for frying oregano sprigs and/or rocket leaves (optional) Gently warm the skordalia through in a saucepan on the stove, stirring occasionally. Heat the octopus pieces in a hot pan with a little olive oil, cooking until they have some colour on all sides, or barbecue them. Place a spoonful or two of skordalia on each plate, add a portion of octopus and top with some salsa and a few oregano sprigs or rocket leaves.