Friday, 20 July 2007

Octopus Slow Cooked In Wine

This is the first post to feature on YOTG which is designed to be cooked on the car engine. Didn't know you could cook octopus on the car engine? Shame on you. Its high time you had a look at Bangers on Bangers.

OK, so you've got the background. This dish was dreamt up for a long journey to the lake district. The cause of the trip is a swimming race so this will be high-protein, high carb and, most importantly, lip-smackingly tasty.

Leaving London at 8am, this should be ready for a lakeside lunch. The early departure will affect cooking time - a fast passage out of London will make for an even, low heat all the way. If you are starting your journey in heavy traffic (such as a Friday evening), you'll need to alter the recipe to allow for a high heat at the start followed by lower heat as you hit the motorway. I'd take an hour off the cooking time.


Serves 2

250g prepared octopus (the smaller, the better)
10-12 cherry tomatoes halved
1 small bunch of parsley
1 lemon
1 glass white wine
good olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
2 heaped tsp. plain flour
1 thinly sliced small potato


Rince the octopus thoroughly in water and pat dry with kitchen roll. Slice the octopus as you like, but keep the chunks reasonable small, say not more than 2cm in any direction. Since it is quite a beautiful animal, you'll need to use your creative flair here to cut up the fish in a way that preserves its natural beauty.

In a mixing bowl add the octopus, flour, seasoning and parsley. A good pinch of sea salt is needed here but only a couple of twists of pepper. Stir until the flour is well dispersed. Add the juice of the lemon, stiring as you go, then do the same with the wine being sure to avoid lumps. When the liquid is looking smooth, add the halved cherry tomatoes and stir in gently.

Pour a generous splash of olive oil into a foil takeaway tray and line the tray with the sliced potato. This will stop the octopus from getting too hot and thus becoming tough. Add another glug of oil then with a slotted spoon, spoon in the octoups until it comes up to just below the top of the foil tray. Top up with the remaining liquid leaving about a centimetre gap at the top of the tray to minimise spillage. It doesn't mater if there are bits of octopus poking above the liquid as these will steam.

Seal the container as described on Bangers on Bangers and get on the road. I think this will need at least 4 hours of motorway driving but I'll probably give it 5 to be safe.

Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juice.

Notes for gluttons

Hands up if you've cooked octopus on a car engine. I reckon this to be a first but would love to be proved wrong. Remember where you saw it first.