Octopus with Savoy Cabbage & Streaky Bacon Recipe

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From the Source - Spain: Spain's Most Authentic Recipes From the People That Know Them Best

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Cooking Time: 2 Hours


  • 4 L (7 pt) water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan pepper
  • handful of sea salt
  • 1 octopus
  • 8 savoy cabbage leaves
  • 1 handful parsley leaves, chopped finely
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground Espelette pepper (or chilli pepper)
  • 1½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 150 ml (5¼ fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 8 slices of streaky bacon, preferably uncured
  • 150 ml (5¼ fl oz) olive oil, for frying garlic & octopus
How to Make It
  1. Put the water to heat in a saucepan, and add the bay leaves, one of the garlic cloves (chopped), Sichuan pepper, and a handful of salt.
  2. Clean the octopus thoroughly under running water, cleaning out all the dirt from the tentacles and the inside of the head.
  3. When the water starts boiling, dip the octopus slowly in the water until the end of the legs contract, then remove. Do this three times, and then submerge it completely in the water.
  4. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Pinch the upper part of the tentacles and below the head to check if tender. Remove the octopus and put it on a tray to cool.
  5. Wash the cabbage and cut each leaf in two. Place in boiling water (enough to cover the cabbage) with a pinch of salt. Remove when the leaves are tender, but still green, and plunge into iced water to ensure they don’t cook any more. Set aside.
  6. Finely chop three of the cloves of garlic and mix with the chopped parsley. Add the leaves from the sprig of thyme, the oregano and the Espelette pepper. Mix with the apple cider vinegar and the sunflower oil, and allow the mixture to sit for 20 minutes to intensify the flavours.
  7. Fry the bacon in a pan until it sweats and turns transparent, then set aside (keep it warm).
  8. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, slice the remaining cloves of garlic, and fry until golden, then remove the garlic and set aside. Reserve the oil for serving.
  9. Take four octopus legs and cut pieces of about 12 cm (4½in) each for each plate. Fry the octopus in olive oil. The rest of the octopus can be frozen and used at a later date.
  10. Add some of the toasted garlic slices to the cabbage.
  11. To serve, arrange a cabbage leaf on the bottom of the plate, then top with a slice of bacon, then another cabbage leaf and another slice of bacon. Crown with the octopus, sprinkle over some salt, then decorate with the rest of the toasted garlic slices and a few drops of the oil in which they were fried.

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