Hearth (Ritz-Carlton, Perth )Executive Chef, Jed Gerrard, shares a recipe for an extra special meal at home.
TWICE-COOKED FREMANTLE OCTOPUS WITH FENNEL & NDUJA DRESSING NDUJA DRESSING
3 cloves garlic, peeled and micro-planed 100g spreadable nduja
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
150ml olive oil
50ml lemon juice
50ml chardonnay vinegar
1 tsp salt
PREPARATION FOR OCTOPUS
500g octopus tentacles 400g extra virgin olive oil salt and black pepper 3 red chillies, cut in half 5 sprigs rosemary
2 cloves garlic, crushed
SHAVED FENNEL AND PARSLEY SALAD
1 small fennel bulb
1⁄2 bunch chives cut into 4cm batons 2 tbsp fresh-picked Italian parsley leaves
1 lemon, segmented
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil sea salt PLUS 2 slices sourdough bread, crusts removed and torn into bite-size pieces and toasted till golden METHOD NDUJA DRESSING
STEP 1 Gently fry off the garlic, nduja and fennel seeds in half the oil on a medium heat. Add lemon juice and vinegar.
STEP 2 Place the mix into a blender or whisk by hand until all combined. Mix the remainder of the oil and season with salt. METHOD FOR OCTOPUS
STEP 1 Put the tentacles in a bowl and cover with rock salt. Using your hands, scrub the tentacles to remove any slime. Rinse and drain.
STEP 2 Cut away the webbed skin that hangs from the sides of the tentacles and discard. Rinse again and drain on paper towels to dry.
STEP 3 Whisk together the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Toss in the octopus and place in a pot with the chilli, rosemary and garlic.
STEP 4 Cook, covered, at around 77C for 5 hours. (You can use a thermometer to make sure the temperature of the oil does not go above 80C.) Let the octopus cool just enough so you can handle it.
STEP 5 To trim the tentacles, put each tentacle sucker-side down on a work surface and, with a paring knife, scrape away the top flesh and trim the tips of the hands.
STEP 6 This first step of cooking the octopus hands can be done up to two days in advance.
METHOD FOR SHAVED FENNEL AND PARSLEY SALAD
STEP 1 Using a mandolin or vegetable slicer, cut the fennel into paper-thin slices and place in a bowl with the herbs and lemon segments.
STEP 2 In a separate bowl squeeze the juice from the lemon after you have removed segments — about 1 tbsp.
STEP 3 Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season with salt.
STEP 4 Season the salad with the lemon dressing to taste, adding salt if needed.
METHOD TO SERVE
STEP 1 Brush octopus with olive oil and cook over glowing jarrah embers or charcoal till charred and caramelised (about 5-7 minutes). Or heat a pan over high heat till smoking.
STEP 2 Brush the octopus with olive oil and sear to caramelise on both sides (4-5 mins).
STEP 3 Take off the heat, slice into around 5cm lengths and toss in the dressing with the sourdough toast. Ensure the octopus and bread is well coated in the dressing.
STEP 4 Place on a plate and garnish with the fennel and parsley salad. SERVES 4