In Australia as in most western countries,octopus is as foreign & unknown to the Australian palette as Vegemite would be to the Portuguese.
When I was travelling around Portugal, octopus was everywhere & is much loved by the Portuguese.
When I was in Portugal, I had a memorable dish called polvo lagareiro, it was so delicious that I had to try & find the recipe & recreate it.
We found this nice small cafe/restaurant in the middle of Lisbon, it looked like nothing special, in fact it seemed a little bit touristy. Which are the type of places I stay well clear of.That old saying of you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover was definitely true in this situation.
Braising the octopus makes it really really tender.I've heard & read people say that octopus is quite difficult to cook,you need to add a cork to tenderise it or you have to freeze it,then cook it, as fresh is too difficult to work with, but they all couldn't be further from the truth.
The truth is, all that's needed is a bit of TLC.
Lagareiro is a a style of cooking that's usually used on seafood,the dish is baked in the oven with flavors & then is grilled or BBQ then drizzled with large amounts of olive oil.
I think this style of cooking is similar to the french style on confit.
I've modernised the dish slightly, & have used less olive oil to dress the dish.
If you've never tried octopus then I encourage you to try it.It's a dish that can be put in a roasting pan or pot & braised slowly with any ingredients you fancy. It's my version of a pot roast.
- 2 kg large whole octopus
- 4 cups olive oil
- 2 cups whits wine
- 1 bunch parsley chopped
- 6 bay leaves
- 6 large potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
- 1 tab salt
1. Clean the octopus by cutting the tentacles into pieces, then remove the eyes.
2. In a large deep baking dish, lay all the octopus on the bottom of the dish, then pour the olive oil, the white wine, bay leaves, half the parsley & salt onto the octopus, cover with foil.
Bake in a medium oven 170 degrees for 45 min.
3. After 45min remove the octopus from the liquid, leaving it to one side.
Make sure the octopus is tender, if not cook a further 20 min or until the octopus is tender.
Add the potatoes to the liquid & bake for 30 min, uncovered or till the potatoes are tender.
4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat a fry pan on medium heat, add add a bit of olive oil to a fry pan.
Once the oil is hot add the octopus & fry the octopus on both sides till they are golden brown & crispy.
5. Once the potatoes are cooked, sprinkle the rest of the chopped parsley over the potatoes. Once the octopus is fried, assemble the dish.
Put 3 pieces of potatoes on a plate the add the octopus placing it on top of the potatoes.
Pour the liquid from the baking dish on top of the octopus & serve.
Serve the dish with either a green salad or cooked green beans.
- If you find the liquid is going dry add 1/2 a cup of water to the dish
- You can either pan fry the octopus or BBQ the pieces.
The octopus was beautifully tender.