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Perfecting gourmet octopus

Top chefs share their innovative octopus recipes in the February 2018 issue of House & Garden

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By Amy Saunders | February 21, 2018 | Recipes

Three talented local chefs have created the perfect recipes for tender, tasty, melt in your mouth gourmet octopus dishes. In case you missed it, read through details of the recipes below.

Oliver Swart

Chef Oliver Swart creates innovative and incredibly tasty dishes for passionate and trendy catering company Annalize Catering. He serves his octopus with lemon, maldon salt and aioli.


For the octopus:

6kg octopus


3 fresh bay leaves, whole

2 cloves garlic

4T olive oil

1 onion, chopped

bunch of thyme

250ml white wine

1 wine cork

black pepper

For the warm vinaigrette:

50ml olive oil

2 red serrano chillies, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

3T brown sugar

50ml red-wine vinegar

30g flat leaf parsley

10g mint

30g coriander

10g dill

salt and pepper

Lemon, maldon salt and aioli; to serve

Put the octopus in a pot with the olive oil on high heat and cover. Allow the octopus to sear and boil for about 5 to 8 minutes. Take the lid off and have a look to see if the liquid has been released. Add the white wine, a pinch of salt, bay leaves, garlic, onion, thyme, wine cork and more water if needed to just cover the octopus. Place lid back on and reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes (checking occasionally to see if there’s enough braising liquid). You may add more water and continue to braise until the octopus is fork-tender

Remove the pot from the heat and allow the octopus to steep until the liquid has cooled or even better, place in the fridge overnight. After it has steeped take the octopus out of the cooking liquid and discard the liquid.

Cut off the octopus tentacles and keep whole. Carefully remove the pink skin without taking off the suction cups. Drizzle with olive oil, a little salt and pepper.

Get a fire going until you have hot glowing coals.

To make the warm vinaigrette, fry the chilli and garlic in olive oil in a pan for a minute. Add the sugar but don’t stir. Just swirl the pan and caramelise it. Add the red-wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and reduce liquid for about a minute. Take off the heat and add chopped mint, parsley, dill and coriander. Season and set aside in a bowl.

Once the fire is ready, spread the coals evenly. Place octopus on the grill and sear for about 3 minutes on each side (it must be nice and blackened). Remove from the grill and place on a serving plate. Drizzle with the warm vinaigrette, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a good sprinkle of maldon salt. Serve with aioli.

Giles Edwards, La Téte

Cofounder and head chef of Cape Town’s La Téte, the nose-to-tail eatery beloved by chefs, food snobs and adventurous palates alike. Trained in London, Giles’ passion for seafood and the sustainable food revolution translates brilliantly into his menu. He serves his octopus with fennel and sea spinach.


1 medium octopus, about 3kg

olive oil to fry, plus 150ml

Glass of white wine

Bulb garlic, cut in half


50ml lemon juice

2 heads fennel

Handful mint roughly chopped

2 tablespoon capers

Handful chopped parsley

100 g rocket

25 ml Red Wine Vinegar

Salt and pepper

Ash Heeger, Ash Restaurant

Luke Dale-Roberts’ prodigy and all-round culinary rock star, Ash Heeger is the driving force behind Ash Restaurant. She serves her octopus with lemon atchar, fennel, coriander and pineapple.


For the octopus:

1 whole octopus

150ml extra-virgin olive oil

2 star anise

2 whole cloves

2 whole all spice

1 bay leaf

For the romesco:

50g flaked almonds

2 red peppers

20ml white-wine vinegar

150ml extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the pickled lemon:

1 lemon

100ml white-wine vinegar

100ml water

25g unrefined brown sugar

To finish the octopus:

100g corn flour

1 egg, beaten

150g panko bread crumbs

A couple of pinches of smoked paprika, maldon salt and micro herbs; to serve

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