Salad of slow-cooked octopus (with confit artichoke hearts)

Anna Hansen

Anna Hansen

17th December 2013
Anna Hansen

Salad of slow-cooked octopus (with confit artichoke hearts)

Salad of slow-cooked octopus (with confit artichoke hearts) by Anna Hansen, The Modern Pantry


  • Serves 6
  • 3 confit artichoke hearts, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 175g goats' curd
  • 400g podded broad beans, blanched, refreshed in cold water, then slipped out of their skins
  • 2 bunches of sorrel, shredded
  • 2 punnets of pea shoots
  • 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
  • For the octopus:
  • a 1.5kg octopus, thoroughly rinsed and patted dry - frozen is fine but be sure to defrost it fully before cooking
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 large red chillies, split lengthways
  • 4 star anise
  • half bunch of parsley stalks, roughly chopped
  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil


I learned this wonderful Italian technique for cooking octopus from Giorgio Locatelli's brilliant book, Made in Italy: Food and Stories (Fourth Estate, 2006). We had this dish on our opening menu at The Modern Pantry and it remains a real favourite, yielding a delicately flavoured, firm yet giving meat with accompanying juices, which jellify when left in a cool place. Oh-so-delicious when greedily kept to one side and then later blobbed on to warm, garlicky toast.
The key to success is in the title: 'slow-cooked'. Remain true to that, and this technique will never let you down. I prefer to serve the octopus at room temperature, so I take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before I plan to serve it, but for some, 'room temperature' and 'octopus' are two phrases that should never go together. Feel free to chill or heat the octopus as you so desire.
Place the octopus in a snugly fitting pan with a lid.
Scatter all the remaining ingredients around and about, give the pan a good shake, then cover with the lid and turn the heat on low. It should never create more than a gentle simmer. Leave to bubble away gently for 30 minutes or so, then check how it is getting on. Continue to cook for 5-10 minutes, until just tender, checking every so often to ensure that it does not become overdone.
When cooked, take the pan off the heat, remove the lid and leave to cool, then remove the octopus from its juices and store in a container in the fridge until ready to use. Strain the juices through a fine sieve and refrigerate also.
To serve, cut the octopus tentacles into generous-sized chunks. Gently layer the octopus, wedges of artichoke, goats' curd, broad beans, sorrel and pea shoots on a serving dish.
Blob the now-jellified octopus juices around and about and serve immediately, with the lemon wedges.

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