Baharat Stewed Octopus with Potatoes, Peppers & Ginger
Tender, spicy, slightly exotic and totally delicious- these words and quite a few more actually, describe the way my supper tasted rather accurately! Is that the way you usually expect your octopus to taste? Me, me either! Which made it into even more of a treat this evening.
Usually, octopus is a rather simple affair, flavored with lemon and parsley and more often than not, served as a salad. Yes, yes, all very lovely and fine and good! But on a cold, October evening... You might be happier with a little something like this!
Seasoned with mild but spicy Baharat and accentuated with fresh ginger and lemon, I stewed my little baby octopi in their own juices and cooked my red and green peppers and little potatoes along with them in my tajine... A perfect way to cook octopus as it traps all of that steam and all of the aromas whilst it cooks. But if you don't have a tajine, fear not! Because as long as you have a sauce pan with a lid, you can make this just fine... All you need is around 45-50 minutes of cooking time...
Bearing in mind that octopus does shrink considerably during cooking, you will need at least 2 of these little babies per person. I had 3... I was hungry!
Along with the octopus, I needed 1stalk of celery, 1 carrot, 1 spring onion, some fresh ginger, 1 lemon, 2 small red peppers, 6-7 pimientos de padron, 3 small potatoes and some fresh parsley. I seasoned with salt, pepper and Baharat spice and of course, I used a little olive oil for the initial frying... As one would!
I could this using basically the same method that they use in the south of Italy, where the octopus cooks in its own juices, with very little liquid added otherwise. This ensures that the octopus becomes nice and tender and also that the flavors are concentrated and all soaked up into the ingredients... And that can only be a good thing!
I began by frying around 2" worth of finely diced, fresh ginger, together with the finely chopped stalks from the parsley and the celery stalk... These ingredients will go to give the oil plenty of flavor and to ensure that the stew has a good, strong seasoning.
I then added the octopus which I basically cut into 4 sections, removing the sac end and halving it and also by cutting the tentacle section into 2 pieces. I seasoned with around a tablespoon of Baharat spice and plenty of pepper and gave everything a good stir through.
Once the octopus had begun to sizzle nicely, I added the remaining ingredients, cut into bite sized pieces, gave them a good stir, add the juice of 1 lemon and popped on the lid.
I reduced th heat, put on the lid and kissed my tajine goodby for the next 15-20 minutes... All that trapped heat did all of the hard work for me in the meantime!
After around 20 minutes, I added plenty of freshly, finely chopped parsley and a good pinch of lemon zest. I tasted the juices to see if I was alright for salt, then added just a hint more water and return d the lid for a further 15-20 minutes... And after that... I was done! And so was my octopus!
Look at the wonderful color that the red peppers gave everything... Together with the ginger and the exotic spices, this was a great source of sweetness and flavor which went so well with the lemon juice... And of course together with the Baharat, it was a combination mad iwhen n heaven! Well, actually in the kitchen... But anyway!
A last drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of lemon zest and parsley... And you are good to go!
And you can rest assured, that after around 1 hour of simmering away, everything here is just as tender and delicious as can be!
Yes, a seafood salad is indeed a lovely dish... But this I would say, is lovelier by far!