Octopus with capers and paprika
( SERVES 6 )
Thanks to this simple cooking technique I am no longer scared that my octopus will be rubbery and chewy. It is first braised in its own juice, then char-grilled and dressed with the flavours of the Mediterranean. It doesn’t get any more simple or delicious than this.
- Heat a large heavy pot with a lid over a high heat until just smoking. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and then carefully add the octopus (it will spit when it hits the hot oil). Immediately place on the lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. The octopus will give up a lot of juice and will provide enough moisture to cook it perfectly without adding anything else.
- Allow the octopus to braise untouched in its own juices for 45-50 minutes. Check the thickest part is tender — a knife should easily penetrate it just like a cooked potato. Remove the octopus and allow to cool.
- Heat a griddle pan (or even better, a charcoal barbecue) until almost smoking. Brush the octopus legs with oil and char over a high heat for 1-2 minutes each side until nicely marked, just like a rare steak.
- Remove from heat and slice into 1-2cm rounds. Place on a serving board and drizzle over a few glugs of olive oil. Sprinkle with the paprika, capers, parsley and season with salt and pepper.
New Zealander Ben Macdonald is a contestant on MasterChef Australia, screening on TV One Tuesday through Saturday at 7.30pm. Each week, until he is eliminated — or, indeed, wins — he will share his experience with us.