On a recent trip to Tel Aviv, I was inspired and somewhat surprised by the all be it small but delicious selection of fish on offer and the cross over of different influences in this middle eastern melting pot. Upon arriving back home I noticed my local supermarket had fresh octopus in and one of my early food memories was awakened, I'm 10 years old on holiday in Turkey, brand new diving knife in hand, being shown how to hunt octopus by a local boy. I was hooked and spent the next few days in the water diving after the poor fellows with my knife. Wind forward 27 years and the stage is set for this dish to come to life.
mixed fresh green herbs, parsely, marjoram, basil and mint work well but feel free to experiment.
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drop the octopus in boiling water then simmer for 30 minutes. take out and refrigerate until fridge temp or over night
in a pan heat a couple of big slugs of olive oil dice the onions and fry until translucent, then add the garlic, spice blend tinned tomatoes and white wine and gently cook until the sauce is glossy and begining to thicken.
in a baking tray keep the tomatoes whole and cut the pepper and aubergine into large chunks drizzle in olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes at 180c
Cook the wild rice as per the packets instructions
remove the beak from inside the centre of the octopus with your fingers and cut the octopus into chunks. i like to leave the legs whole.
add the octopus and sauce to the pan of roasted veg plus the olives and roast on a high heat for about 20 mins until the mixture and edges of the exposed octopus beggin to brown
sprinkle generously with the parsley and crumbled chunks of feta
roughly chop the herbs and with salt, oil and lemon juice pulverise in a pestle and mortar
Serve with fresh crusty bread, drizzling the herb oil over everything!
You'll find this dish pairs nicely with either white wine, a light red think pinot for example or beer. Perhaps all of the above? Go on treat yourself indeed why not!
This dish was a barnstorming success with all the family. The octopus was soft and meaty and the flavours fresh and colours bright. The balance of sweet and salty with the olives and feta works great and to everyone's surprise the baby couldn't stop eating it all! I don't usually repeat dishes as I like to keep creating, but this is one dish I will be making again and I won't be messing much with!