Few things can bring the Aegean on your plate; this plate is one of them: octopus with jersey royals and a few shallots in the oven. So even if the trip to Greece will take a little longer this year, you now have a hack to bring it to your table.
I had a surprise mid-week. Mystery courier brought a box, a heavy, very cold box. It was from the lovely team behind Oma Kitchen; this month’s box holds Aegean flavours. After all these years of shooting and cooking, there are very few things that would get me excited. Unlike the standard recipe boxes, Oma holds treasures picked thematically by well-established chefs, and it is here to tickle your creativity and curiosity. A delivery that for me ticked all the boxes: excellent products, meticulously picked, sustainably wrapped, and arrived intact. And it came with a beautiful booklet with the product pedigree and inspiring cooking suggestions.
Although I would love to take you through every single product, I’ll keep a few things as a surprise for you to discover. If, however, you are looking for an excellent petimezi, pure grape must perhaps made from Agiorgitiko grapes, now you know you can find it here. But why the fuss? Well, the box contained one of the best octopuses’ I have ever tried here in London. But, of course, if you live in London too, you know such delicacies don’t easily come by, you have to hunt for your food.
There are many ways to enjoy octopus. If you visit Greece often, you have undoubtedly spotted the lines of octopi hanging under the sizzling hot sun to dry. The most common way to enjoy it is to fire up the BBQ. Although I was truly tempted to throw a seafood BBQ and crack open the little bottle of ouzo, the weather decided otherwise, see drizzle. Probably for the best, as this is a recipe I meant to share for a very long time: octopus baked with shallots and jersey royals.
Jersey royals are the new potatoes currently abundant on the isles, a formidable spud known for their delicate skin and unique nutty flavour. They are also known for their quick cooking time, but I took the liberty to add them to this slow-cooked bake, and they were heavenly.
This octopus bake is a very homely Greek dish. Perhaps you will stumble upon it in one of these small tavernas with the handful of tables under a canopy of vines; most likely, it won’t even have a view to the sea. It will be a well-kept secret amongst the locals. The few foreign visitors that come through the door will find an array of trays to greet them in a sleepy dim-lit interior, barren of tables as all are outside. The waiters, most likely the chef’s son or daughter, will be running frantically to and fro as you try to catch their gaze. When you get them to explain to you the dishes, I hope you pick the ones you thought the weirdest. It could have been just this:
Baked Octopus with shallots and jersey royals
- 1 octopus 1.5-2kg
- 100 ml olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- A pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3-4 thyme sprigs
- 5-6 all spice berries
- 3 bay leaves
- 500 gr Jersey royals or 5-6 baking potatoes
- As you take the octopus out of the fridge, rinse to get rid of any water and prepare straight away, when the flesh is still cold and firm. Separate the hood and remove the beak by gently pushing; then cut each tentacle.
- Place in a baking tray along with the potatoes, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves, a few allspice berries, just a bit of salt and pepper.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 1 ½ hrs- 2 hrs at 160C/gas mark 3. It should be soft when pricked with a fork. And enjoy!
If you love nonfuss recipes and love octopus, this slow baked octopus with shallots and jersey royals is definitely for you. Check out Oma Kitchen for more great recipe inspiration and boxes!
From London with love,
PS: This is not a sponsored post, I genuinely present and share products I love. If you love good food ingredients and you are based in the UK, then pay a visit to Oma kitchen. Their variety will astound you and their quality is next to none in any of the boxes I have tried here in London.by