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Roasted Octopus with "Punched" Potatoes "Lagareiro Style" ❦ Polvo à Lagareiro co

Frozen octopus, contrary to other foods, is actually better than fresh. When the octopus is frozen, the shock it's muscles receive, help to make it more tender. I have made both fresh and frozen, but prefer to buy it frozen. The octopus retains lots of water, so when you boil it, you need to add very little water to the pot.

Many recipes call for the potatoes to be roasted along with the octopus in the oven. I do not do this. I find that by the time the potatoes are cooked through, I am left with a rubbery, overdone octopus.

I boil my potatoes until they are almost cooked through, drain and then lightly "punch" each one so that they split and open. "Batatas a murro" literally means punched potatoes. Later when the garlic flavoured olive oil is added to the roasting tin, the potatoes will be infused beautifully.

This recipe is extremely simple to make. It is also a showstopper! It plates up beautifully and oohs & ahhs are guaranteed! So without further ado.

XOXO enjoy ♡

Polvo a Lagareiro com Batatas a Murro ♡ Roasted Octopus with "Punched" Potatoes Lagareiro Style

Serves 4-6

1 Large octopus approximately 2kg.

1 kg. Potatoes whole, skin on

1 Large onion whole, peeled

1 Large head of garlic, in cloves peeled

3 Bay leaves

1 Bunch fresh parsley or coriander

2 Sprigs of fresh thyme

2 Sprig fresh rosemary

1 Juice of half a lemon

6-8 Whole black peppercorns

500 ml. Extra virgin olive oil

125 ml. Dry white wine (I used Portuguese Vinho Verde)

1 Wine cork (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste (1 tbsp. for potato cooking water)

*If frozen, thaw your octopus completely in fridge 24 hours before cooking. Rinse octopus under cold running water. Remove the beak from the underside of head between tentacles with a sharp knife. Most frozen octopus are usually cleaned and without eyes and ink sac. If buying fresh, your fishmonger can do the cleaning for you.

1. In a large stockpot, 2 bay leaves, whole onion, 1 sprig of thyme, a few sprigs of parsley, peppercorns, 2-3 whole garlic cloves, wine cork along with water to about just below half of pot, no more as it will release a lot of water as in boils. Bring to a boil and while firmly holding your octopus, gently lower the bottom of the tentacles into the water 4 to 5 times, dipping it in and out of the water. This will make them curl up beautifully for a lovely presentation later. Lower octopus into the water and lower heat so that the liquid simmers slowly, and cook octopus until it is tender, 60- 90 minutes. (check for doneness with point of sharp knife)

2. Drain and reserve liquid. Discarding everything else, but the octopus. Set aside. You can reserve octopus for 24 hours in advance up to this point; cover, and refrigerate octopus until ready to use.

Cut head away from body and cut into pieces, separate tentacles and cut in half if desired, I left mine whole.

3. Using the reserved octopus broth, pour it back into the stockpot and add your potatoes. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water and bring to the boil. Cook potatoes until almost done, about 15 mins.

4. Drain potatoes and let cool until you can handle them. Place on a work surface and with the heel of your hand, lightley punch each one. You don't want to smash it, just crack it slightly so it bursts evenly all around.

5. Pre-heat oven to 230ºc.,in a large roasting tin, arrange potatoes in a single layer.

Arrange your octopus on top and add sprigs of thyme and rosemary. (I added some yellow and red whole tomatoes for colour, they are not essential to the dish) Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour in the white wine.

6. In a small saucepan on low heat add olive oil, bay leaf and remaining garlic cloves chopped.Gently sweat the garlic in the olive oil for 2 minutes, just enough to release the garlic's essence and perfume the olive oil. Pour olive oil all over octopus and potatoes making sure all the garlic goes with it.

7. Place in preheated oven and roast uncovered for

12-15 mins.

8. To serve, sprinkle with juice of half a lemon, chopped fresh parsley or coriander.

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