Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Feta Stuffed Octopus

Stuffed Octopus c-w

Consider this my revenge. Paul caused me a lot of heartache and grief back in June last year. It was all going so well, until he decided to turn his back on my favourite team (after South Africa of course) and predict a win for Spain. The cheek! Many a blue-eyed German boy was in tears after the match and for me the World Cup was over. I mean come on, I pour my heart and my soul into the competition only to have it bludgeoned like this? Pfffft.

The death of poor Paul a mere four months later, did manage to somewhat appease me, but it wasn't enough. No, his entire species should pay for his crimes! Or, at least just a few more... Clearly our local grocery store share my sentiments (they must have German blood, I'm sure), as I was confronted by a big pile of slippery octopuses (octopi?) when I popped in there on Sunday. And given my vengeful thoughts I couldn't *not* buy a few of 'em in an attempt to even the playing field, now could I? No matter that the thought of actually prepping the octopuses terrified me beyond belief. Thank goodness for the smiling fishmonger who offered to clean them for me - obviously another German supporter.

Stuffed Octopus b2-w

But what would I do with them? Yes, they were now at least presentable looking, but I'd still have to get my hands dirty when I got home. Which, let's face it, was quite a daunting prospect. TheHusband was no use either - he gets squeamish from most any raw seafood. I decided to stuff it. Literally and, I guess, figuratively, as a big old middle finger to the octopus everyone loves to hate. I looked to the Greek isles for inspiration. If there's a nation that loves eating these tentacled creatures, it's the Adonises in Greece. And hey, if it can work for them, I'm sure it can work for me. Even if I already have my own Adonis...

And so I gathered up some feta, greenpepper and a chilli or two and proceeded to exact my revenge on the cephalopoda class. And as much as I'm loathe to admit it, I ended up loving that octopus. Perhaps it was the sweet, roasted baby onions or the sweet yellow tomatoes that replaced the octopus hatred with octopus love. Or perhaps it was just the knowledge that I had finally won in the Battle of the Octopus.

Stuffed Octopus d2-w
Feta Stuffed Octopus
A Creative Pot original
Serves 4

Serve this straight from the oven with lemon wedges and boiled potatoes, tossed in a little bit of oil.

20 baby onions
olive oil
700g cleaned, prepared octopus (for me this translated to 2 large tubes and tentacles)
1 greenpepper, cut into small strips
4 sundried tomato slices, chopped (reserve oil)
100g feta, crumbled
1 chilli, finely chopped
1 fresh peppadew, finely chopped (optional)
250g yellow baby tomatoes
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

1. Arrange onions in the base of an oven casserole dish, drizzle with onion and roast at 180C (350F) until soft.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the octopus by separating the tentacles from the large tubes. Reserve the tentacles for another use (I like to simply fry them with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and salt), then proceed to halve the tubes. Using toothpicks, secure the bottom of the tubes to form a pouch in which to place the filling.
3. Combine greenpepper, sundried tomatoes,  feta, chilli and peppadew (if using) in a small bowl, then spoon into the prepared octopus pouches. There will be some filling leftover, set this aside while you secure the top of the pouches with more toothpicks to form neat little parcels.
4. Arrange the stuffed octopus amongst the baby onions in the casserole dish, then add the baby tomatoes and the remainder of the filling, distributing it evenly around the octopus parcels. Drizzle with lemon juice and reserved oil from the sundried tomatoes (alternatively just use olive oil), then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Bake in the oven (again at 180C - 350F) for 25 - 30 minutes or until the octopus is tender.

Most octopus recipes will advise you to boil the octopus first to ensure its tenderness. I neglected this step and mine turned out perfectly tender, although there is some evidence that suggests freezing the octopus overnight (as I did) accomplishes the same thing. Feel free to use your judgement though as my knowledge of octopus preparation is very limited.


La Bella Cooks on March 16, 2011 10:18 am said...

I have never tried octopus before but your recipe looks and sounds like it would be the one to start with. Your photos are incredible. What a dish!

Dawn Jorgensen on March 16, 2011 7:13 pm said...

Oh wow that looks truly delicious! Will be sure to give it a try. The photos and colors let alone descriptions have left me hungry at this tender hour. Thank you for making octopus an inviting seafood option.

Joanne on March 16, 2011 7:31 pm said...

Well I'm not EXACTLY sure what octopi have to do with soccer (or football as you guys call it) but I do know I've never seen those little cephalopods look this good!

Megg on March 17, 2011 12:16 am said...

This looks delicious... I have a dilemma, since I love octopi (the living creatures).. they are so fascinating and intelligent... BUT I also love to eat them. ..sigh... But yes, I will certainly be trying this recipe soon! Thanks for sharing!

Cindy on March 17, 2011 4:54 am said...

Man this looks good, I can so do this dish!
(RIP Paulie.)

nina- My Easy Cooking on March 17, 2011 5:46 am said...

Well done for attempting this dish, I still have some Paul in my freezer, maybe I must give this a go!!

Borislava@sharemykitchen on March 17, 2011 8:06 am said...

This dish looks stunning! Nice photos.
I love all types of seafood, definitely more than I care for football, and surely will try this. Greek fish markets I use to often visit, in order to make it tender, prepare the octopus beating it into the ground. I believe the method works only for fresh catch and for the whole octopus and it is not a pleasant thing to see...But it really works!

Linda Harding on March 17, 2011 9:53 am said...

What a fantastically creative idea - it's no wonder where you get your blog name from! You're The Creative Pot indeed!

Homemade Heaven on March 17, 2011 11:37 am said...

This look super yummy - I can't wait to try it. Those little onions look so good, just want to pop one off the screen into my mouth!

Juanita on March 17, 2011 12:36 pm said...

Hey, hey...poor Paul and his sea-faring cronies. But boy do they taste good!

Marija on March 17, 2011 1:25 pm said...

This is just stunning! Amazing looking dish.

Délices d´Ispahan on March 18, 2011 5:04 pm said...

This dish looks amazing. About the tenderness of the octopus: as I am leaving in a country without seaside every octopus is imported and I think they were all frozen on the way to my hometown... so I also cook them right away when I have bought them. This means that I am not sure if they would be different when they are realy fresh... By the way when I hear that you have summer...oh god and here we are still into is again cold and rainy in my hometown.... So I envy you for the summerfeeling...

Caylee on April 19, 2011 4:32 pm said...

I need this in my life.

Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet on May 27, 2011 9:42 pm said...

Hah, and to think a German zoo actually wanted to buy the octopus!

Love your filling!

Did the octopus actually come out tender? I've had massive struggles with cooking mine and they end up like rubber bands. :-(

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