Variety is the spice of life they say, and I´m always looking for something a bit different to feed my friends. I found the answer here….my recipe for Baby Octopus, with Rocket & Cherry Tomatoes. An easy, healthy seafood dish, packed full of flavour; just the kind of meal I love!
Since the flesh of octopus is mainly muscle, it´s texture changes from chewy, to tough, to tender, depending on how long you cook it for. An interesting fact: they are best enjoyed after being frozen, then thawed (cooking from frozen it tenderizes faster than if it is cooked fresh). This is because they are 80-90% water, so as you thaw them water enters the flesh, making it softer.
You often see these ´pulpito´ or baby octopus on menus, here in Cataluña. They´re usually cooked in a tomato and onion stew, spiced with smokey paprika. I decided to keep tomato as a key ingredient, but used sautéed, sweet, cherry tomatoes, with some wilted rocket. I served a small bowl as a starter, but it could easily be spooned over some rice or quinoa and turned into a more substantial main dish.
Char´s tip: I recommend you cook the octopus on their own for a while, before adding the other ingredients (to soften them up and to expel extra water after being thawed). I had a sad, failed attempt at this recipe without this stage, and the result was a bit too wet!
800g baby octopus, drained
500g cherry tomatoes, quartered lengthways
wild garlic, chopped
parsley, small bunch, chopped
2 limes, juiced
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp chilli paste
2 dried chilies, chopped
Sauté the octopus in a pan with a little oil, and cook them for about 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly. Tip the octopus into a colander (to drain off the juices) and leave them standing in the sink.
Meanwhile, add some more oil to the pan and sauté the onion and wild garlic, until the onions start to turn translucent.
Add the octopus back into the onion mix, and fry with the chilli paste and dried chillies and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the cherry tomatoes and cook lightly for a further 2 minutes. Add the rocket and cook for the final 30 seconds. You just want to wilt the rocket, not properly cook it. Remove from the heat, squeeze over the lime juice, add the parsley and stir one last time.
Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve straight away.