Crisp octopus, roasted fennel and apple with a liquorice dressing

Preparation time
overnight

Cooking time
1 to 2 hours

Serves
Serves 4

Crisp fried octopus is served with roasted vegetables, caramelised apple and a fresh dressing.

By Michel Roux Jr.
From Saturday Kitchen

Ingredients

For the octopus

  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp rock salt
  • 1 octopus (about 2kg/4lb 8oz), innards and beak removed, cleaned

For the fruit and vegetable garnish

  • ½ celeriac, cut into large chunks
  • 1 fennel bulb (or 4 baby fennel bulbs), cut into large chunks, fronds reserved in water for the garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 apple, peeled, halved and cored

For the octopus tentacles

  • 6–8 octopus tentacles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the liquorice dressing

  • 1 tbsp cooking juices, reserved from the garnish (above)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fine liquorice powder, plus a pinch to serve
  • fresh tarragon leaves, to garnish
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. For the octopus, put all the ingredients except the octopus in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil before adding the octopus. Simmer for about 1½ hours until the octopus is tender. Do check regularly using the tip of a knife; once you can easily cut through the flesh strain the octopus, and leave overnight in the fridge. Discard the head and the liquid.
  2. For the fruit and vegetable garnish, preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
  3. Place the celeriac and fennel on a sheet of kitchen foil and season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic clove, olive oil and thyme. Wrap in the foil and seal tightly. Bake for 20–30 minutes (depending on the size of the chunks), or until tender.
  4. In the meantime, slice each half of apple into three even wedges. Heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan and fry the apple wedges on each side until golden, but not cooked through. Set aside until ready to serve.
  5. When the vegetables are cooked, remove them from the foil and reserve any cooking juices (to use in the dressing).
  6. For the octopus tentacles, slice the tentacles into chunks. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Once the pan is hot, fry the tentacles until crisp. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. For the liquorice dressing, put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk together to create a split vinaigrette. Dress with tarragon leaves and an extra pinch of liquorice powder.
  8. To serve, divide the roasted vegetables between serving plates, top with the octopus and finish with the dressing and fennel fronds.