Origins Market Ambassador, Santi Fernandez has lived, worked and eaten all over the world.
When asked what makes him think of home, he reminisces about an octopus dish with just 5 ingredients and a whole heap of flavour.
“My paternal grandmother, I remember she was an excellent cook. A really great chef. She had this laugh and was really smart and clever,” he smiles, reminiscing over Sunday lunches at her home. “Everything she cooked tasted of the love and the passion she put into it. And the way she cooked that octopus, the flavour stuck in my head.”
Taking his grandmother’s recipe, Santi utilises the bounty available in the South West to make fresh Busselton octopus the star of the show in this simple and elegant recipe.
- 200 ml olive oil
- 1 small-sized whole octopus, about 1 kg, head removed.
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 30 g fresh ginger, diced
- Salt flakes
- Carefully clean the octopus, removing the slime, dirt or membrane from its tentacles. Pat dry.
- In a large pot, heat the oil on high heat and add the garlic and ginger.
- When the garlic and ginger acquire a golden-brown colour, place the whole octopus in, tentacles down. Keep the octopus in the same position at high heat for about five minutes until the skin acquires an intense red colouration.
- At this stage, flip the octopus and reduce the heat to a minimum.
- Cover the pot with two layers of cling film to seal the chamber. Make a small hole in the clingfilm with a toothpick to release some of the steam. Cook the octopus for 20 minutes. Shake the pot every five minutes to make sure that the octopus does not stick. It is very important to reserve most of the octopus juices inside the pot until the end of the cooking process.
- Remove from heat and rest the octopus 10 minutes before opening the pot.
- Pierce the octopus flesh with a toothpick. It is ready when tender, only the skin offering a slight resistance.
- Remove the octopus from the pot and refrigerate for one hour.
- For the octopus gravy, strain the cooking juices through a fine sieve into a small saucepan and whisk until fully emulsified, creating a sauce with an unctuous texture. You can also use a hand blender for this action.
- Remove the octopus from the fridge. Cut the octopus, separating each leg or into 80 g portions.
- Heat a non-stick pan until very hot and sear the octopus with a bit of olive oil.
- Glaze the octopus with the emulsified sauce made with the reserved cooking juices. Season with sea salt flakes.
Note: Spanish sweet paprika is also commonly used to season, alongside salt.