Recipe Ber­tus Bas­son

House and Leisure Food - - WINTER WARMTH -

for the pressed oc­to­pus

1.2kg oc­to­pus, cleaned zest of 1 le­mon 1 gar­lic clove, crushed 20g fresh flatleaf pars­ley salt and white pep­per

for the tomato com­pres­sion

6 plum toma­toes 20g fresh basil leaves salt and milled black pep­per

for the tomato wa­ter

3 toma­toes tomato seeds (see tomato

com­pres­sion above) 4 fresh basil leaves 1 gar­lic clove salt and milled black pep­per shred­ded basil, to gar­nish good-qual­ity olive oil

Serves 6

To pre­pare the pressed oc­to­pus, place it in cold wa­ter and bring to a slow sim­mer. Cook for ap­prox­i­mately three hours. Re­move from the wa­ter and cool for 15 min­utes, then peel the skin off. Cut the ten­ta­cles into large chunks and slice the head. Flavour with the le­mon zest, gar­lic, pars­ley and sea­son­ing. Turn the oc­to­pus onto cling­film and wrap in a tight cylin­dri­cal shape. Try to squeeze out as much of the juice as pos­si­ble. Tie both ends and re­frig­er­ate for four hours. The nat­u­ral juices will set the cylin­der so that it is easy to slice.

For the tomato com­pres­sion, bring a pan of wa­ter to the boil and get a bowl of ice-cold wa­ter ready. Re­move the eyes and score a small cross into the skin of each tomato. Put the toma­toes in boiling wa­ter un­til the skin is loose (about 10 sec­onds) and then plunge straight into the cold wa­ter. Quar­ter the toma­toes, re­move the skin and scrape out and re­serve the seeds. Trim the flesh into rec­tan­gu­lar pieces and re­serve the of­f­cuts. Layer the tomato flesh in a square mould (7×7×1cm) with the basil leaves in be­tween, sea­son­ing as you go. Place a heavy weight on top and press overnight in the fridge. Re­move the weight, trim the mould and slice the com­pres­sion with a sharp knife.

To make the tomato wa­ter, blend the tomato and the tomato seeds from the tomato com­pres­sion with the basil and gar­lic, and sea­son to taste. Place a piece of muslin cloth in a colan­der and pour in the blended mix­ture. Leave for about three hours to ex­tract as much of the clear tomato wa­ter as pos­si­ble. Place a slice of the oc­to­pus and a slice of tomato com­pres­sion in a bowl, and flood the bowl with tomato wa­ter. Gar­nish with shred­ded basil and driz­zle a lit­tle good-qual­ity olive oil over it.

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