Cooking octopus can be a challenge, so when Massimo Mele of La Scala on Jersey revealed his secret to cooking octopus in the Electrolux Taste Theatre at Taste of Sydney last week, we knew we had to share the amazing dish that he whipped up using his Nonna’s recipe.
It really doesn’t get much more authentic than this, so enjoy!
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) octopus tentacles
5 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
1 long red chilli, sliced (seeds removed, if you prefer mild hotness)
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf (Italian)
1 tbsp chopped marjoram
250 ml white wine vinegar
250 ml mild extra virgin
Extra white wine vinegar, to serve
1 head fennel
1/2 head of raddccio
1 celery heart light green leaves only
2 slices of sourdough bread
1/2 cup almond meal
2 garlic cloves
1⁄2 cup water
50ml lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
- Place a large saucepan of sea water over high heat and bring to the boil. If sea water is unattainable, add 500g of rock salt to 5 litres (20cups) of water and bring to the boil.
- Blanch the octopus three times in boiling water for about 5 seconds each time. Once complete, turn the heat down and add the octopus and potatoes to the same pan. Gently simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender.
- Remove the octopus from the pan and set aside.
- Once the octopus is cool enough to handle, chop it into 5 cm pieces and put in a non-reactive bowl.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and leave to marinate for 2 hours minimum in the refrigerator.
- Remove the garlic. Season with more vinegar and season with freshly ground black pepper. It shouldn’t need any salt.
- For the tarator, dip bread in milk and leave for 15 minutes.
- Squeeze dry, Place almond meal in processor with garlic. Add water to make a smooth paste.
- Add olive oil, a little salt and pepper, lemon juice to taste. A little extra water might be needed. Consistency should be light and fluffy.
- To serve place some almond tarator on a plate, top with marinated octopus.
- Finely slice some fennel, radicchio and celery heart and place on top and serve.