Walking through the Fyshwick markets the other day, after tasting a Quarry Hill chilled Tempranillo at Plonk, I ended up in Seafood Harvest looking at the fish. Knowing that I wanted to chargrill something to go into a salad, I tossed up between some huge prawns, calamari, baby octopus or the massive tentacle from something that had lived for thousands of years in the deepest of the oceans. I opted for baby octopus. I chose a bigger than a baby baby octopus, I wanted some size to the tentacles which are the best bit. I wanted something to sink my teeth into, like you do with those tangy, squeaky, bitey morsels from the bottles of marinated occy you get from the seafood shops when you’re down the coast.
This octopus, marinated in the Greek tradition with red wine and herbs from my garden, would go perfectly with some local grilled chorizo, fresh tomatoes picked that day from the garden, salad leaves and a smattering of goats cheese. Summer on a plate. The perfect accompaniment to a chilled Tempranillo picked up that morning.
If you’re after a dish that embodies our Australian summer, this is it.
1c red wine (I used the Quarry Hill Tempranillo that I was going to drink with the dish)
A sprig of rosemary and oregano
Large garlic clove
2TB balsamic vinegar
1TB brown sugar
1 chorizo ( I use Jordos house smoked chorizo)
2 or 3 tomatoes, wedgied or a handful of baby toms cut in half
2 pkts pre-washed rocket
100 gms of marinated goats cheese (I use Meredith Dairy but you can get some really nice produce from Aldi)
2 parts extra virgin olive oil to 1 part fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper
First thing to do is put your Tempranillo into the fridge to chill right down.
Next thing to do is get your Octopussy on. Prepare your fine friend (who looks a little like an elephant above), as per the Youtube video if you’ve never done it before, then add to a saucepan with the marinade ingredients. Cook on a rolling boil for 20 minutes, turn the heat off and either bbq straight away or keep refrigerated over night in the marinade for a more pronounced winey flavour. If left overnight it will become the most loveliest Deep Purple. Or Purple Haze. Or Purple Rain…stop, just stop 😒
Pop your bbq on high. Cut the chorizo right down the middle so you have two long strips. Grill until nice and caramelised and bubbling hot. Take the octopus out of the liquid and put straight onto the hot grill. You may not get great grill marks, but you’re really just after some colour on it, it’s all about the char. Don’t be too concerned if, when you remove the occy from the grill, the little tentacle holes start popping off in rapid fire, like a BB gun. It’s perfectly normal.
Assemble the salad ingredients on a very attractive platter, cut the protein into bite size pieces and strew them artistically amongst the other items. Add big blobs of the goats cheese, whisk your vinaigrette together and when you’re ready to eat, dress the whole lot.
Break up some crusty sourdough you’ve just bought from the farmers market, crack open your chilled Tempranillo and pull up a pew on the deck. This feeds two, handsomely. Or one, piggishly.
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