Foodie : Galician Octopus Satays!

Saffron potatoes, smoked paprika, parsley, garlic, lemon, extra virgin olive oil.

As Anthony Bourdain once asked, “Who doesn’t like grilled meat on a stick?” 

Well, how about some tender octopus and potato skewers with smoked paprika, lemon and garlic; cooked over coffee wood charcoal.

Says Chef Joseph Antonishek: ‘I can’t think of a better seaside snack to enjoy during a day at Karma Beach with your toes in the sand overlooking the pristine blue Indian ocean.’

We couldn’t agree more! Meet you there?

Recipe – Cooking and preparing the octopus:

Cooking octopus can be intimidating for many people.  That’s because different cultures have different “tricks” or “myths” regarding how to cook tender octopus. 

Some cultures beat the octopus tender, some add corks to the cooking process, some make small incisions in different directions across the tentacles with a sharp knife.  Some people insist on freezing octopus overnight, then defrosting prior to cooking.  

All these different techniques/myths can make cooking octopus intimidating.   The short & easy version is to understand that cooking octopus is like smoking meats.  Low and slow cooking will always give the best results.   The following recipe is straightforward and simple… no tricks, no myths.  A good introduction to cooking tender octopus!

“To skin or not to skin?” that is the question.   This is entirely up to you!  It is a matter of personal preference or based on the application. 

When making terrines, I don’t skin the octopus because the skin is packed with sticky gelatin which holds the terrine in shape.  For satays, skewers etc. we do skin our octopus based on guest preference.  If you would like to learn how to skin an octopus, YouTube has some great examples.

Cooking Octopus:

  • Cook Time45 minutes
  • Rest Time1 hour
  • Yields20 skewers

Ingredients

  • 2.2kg
  • 4 liters
  • 1 liter
  • to taste

The rest of the flavouring is up to you as well as the quantities.  At Karma Beach we use:

  • 50 grams
  • 80 grams
  • 120 grams
  • 120 grams
  • 1 bunch
  • 1 bunch
  • 1 bunch
  • 6ea.
  • 1ea.
  • 8ea.
  • 8ea.
  • 20cm
  • 20
  • 1 T.

Methods

  • In a heavy bottom pot combine the water, red wine, salt and all of the fresh ingredients.
  • Combine all the dried spices in a cheese cloth and tie closed tight.
  • Add the “sachet” of spices to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the pot to a low simmer for 10 minutes to infuse all flavors.
  • Taste the cooking liquid.  It should have the same salt content as if you were cooking pasta.
  • Place the octopus into the cooking liquid, bring the pot back up to a low simmer.
  • Depending on the size of the octopus it can take 40-45 minutes to cook.
  • Check the octopus by removing it from the poaching liquid with a strainer and slowly insert a toothpick into a tentacle at the thickest part where it meets the head.
  • Once the toothpick pierces the tentacle easily but with the feeling of ‘al dente’ in the middle, place the octopus back into the pot and remove from the heat.
  • Let the octopus cool down in the cooking liquid until it reaches a temperature for you to comfortably remove it from the cooking liquid with your bare hands.
  • If you opted to not skin your octopus, for best results in saving the skin intact  after removing the octopus from the poaching liquid, transfer it to a parchment paper lined baking tray.  Cover and chill overnight.  This helps prevent the skin from sliding off when cutting it for satays, or any other grilled or sauteed preparation.
  • Once the octopus has cooled, you can begin to cut the tentacles as you wish.
  • First remove each tentacle by cutting at the base of the head separating into 8 pieces.  At this point they are ready to go on the grill for a great appetizer if you should wish.
  • Once the tentacles have all been removed begin cutting them into 2 cm wide chunkss, until you get to the little curly ends, which you can save for a snack. The head can also be cut up and saved, used for a simple salad or tossed in your favorite pasta sauce.
  • Once all the octopus is cut into pieces, divide them into two portions, one large size pieces, one small size pieces and set aside in the chiller.

Preparing the Potatoes.

  • Prep Time30 minutes
  • Cook Time20 minutes
  • Yields20 skewers

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg
  • 2 pinches
  • 1 litre
  • to taste
  • 1ea.
  • 1 bulb

Methods

  • Divide the duck fat, thyme, garlic, salt and saffron equally between two pots.**
  • Bring both pots up to just below simmer.  Turn off the heat and let cool to warm while preparing the potatoes.  This will help infuse maximum flavor into the fat for cooking.
  • Wash each potato thoroughly and set aside.  No need to peel the potatoes as you will not use the skins.
  • With a sharp knife cut 2 cm slices lengthwise of the potatoes, in a similar shape and size to the octopus pieces, some large, some small
  • You will need one potato piece for each piece of octopus, plus a few more in case they break when putting on the skewer.
  • Separate the two different sizes of potatoes in two different containers with cold water until ready to cook.
  • Strain the small potatoes from the water and place in one of the pots of warm duck fat.
  • Repeat this process with the large potatoes and place in the other pot of duck fat.
  • Slowly bring the pots of duck fat up to just below simmer and cook until the potatoes are still “al dente”
  • Remove from the pot with a strainer and place on a sheet pan in the fridge to cool quickly.

Note*. If you don’t have access to duck fat or would like to avoid it.  A good extra virgin olive oil will be a fine substitute!

Note** The smaller potatoes will cook faster than the large cut.  That’s why we divided them between the two pots.

Assembling the Satays

Ingredients

  • 20 pieces
  • 1 recipe
  • 1 recipe
  • 40 grams
  • 1.5 ea.
  • 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 Tablespoon
  • 4 Tablespoons

Methods

  • Soak the bamboo skewers in cold water for up to 1 hour.  This will help prevent them from burning while on the grill.
  • Once soaked, remove from the water.
  • Starting with a large piece of octopus, slide it onto the skewer.
  • Slide a large cut saffron potato onto the skewer above the octopus.
  • Slide a smaller cut piece of octopus onto the skewer above the potato.
  • Lastly a small cut potato onto the end of the bamboo skewer.
  • Repeat this process until all the octopus and potatoes have been used.
  • Combine the garlic, smoked paprika, parsley, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest and juice in a mixing bowl. Reserve.
  • With a pastry brush evenly coat the marinade onto both sides of the potato/octopus skewer.
  • Place the skewer on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  • Repeat this process until all the skewers have been marinated on both sides.
  • Pour the remaining marinade over the top of the skewers, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of four hours, however, overnight is best.

Grilling the Satays:

  • Set your barbecue to the highest heat.
  • Season the skewers with salt and black pepper, place on the grill to quickly char and make hot.  Remember, the octopus and potatoes are already cooked.  This step is to add final flavour and make hot.
  • Remove from the grill, place on a plate, dust with a little more smoked paprika, a squeeze of lemon and a squirt of extra virgin olive oil.   Don’t forget freshly chopped parsley thrown on top at the end!

Download the Recipe as PDF

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