Tuesday 11 May 2021

Grilled octopus with fried eggplants, hummus, caramelized tomatoes and basil-flavored oil

• 10 minutes to prepare • 90 minutes to cook  • Serves 4

Hummus bi tahina

What a gift is hummus – a delightful little meal that transcends cultures, continents and centuries.
At its best, hummus is creamy, unctuous and almost meaty in its fullness of flavour. And that’s no accident: the dish of chickpeas and tahini is packed full of protein.
All over the Middle East and North Africa people eat hummus bi tahina. They might eat it at breakfast, lunch or dinner. In some regions, it’s a meal in itself.

Hummus should be eaten with your hands.
What they won’t do is treat it as a dip left on a table beside some cabanossi for guests to pick at, while they wait for the real food to arrive.

Today hummus is accompanied by a tasteful mix of Mediterranean ingredients: fried eggplants, caramelized tomatoes, grilled octopus and basil-flavored oil.
Once the octopus is cooked, the recipe is easy and pretty fast.
Just prepare all the components, arrange them on a platter, and enjoy!

Here's what you will need for the 4-serving recipe:

1 kg octopus
2 medium eggplants, cubed
300 g cherry tomatoes
500 g hummus
1 carrot
1 clove
1 branch celery
1 branch basil
200 ml white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
EVO oil
salt and pepper

  1. In a colander, toss eggplant with several tablespoons of salt. Place colander in sink and let sit 30 minutes, allowing juices to drain. Rinse eggplant under water, then blot dry with a paper towel. Set aside
  2. Cook the octopus:drop it in a large pan, together with white wine, peeled carrot, celery, the clove. When the wine starts to boil, make it cook for about 60 minutes, covering the pan with a lid and lowering the heat to the minimum. Cooking time depends on the size of the octopus, so consider this time as indicative. The best way to see if the octopus is ready is to skewer it with a fork, in the point where its tentacles are connected to the head: if the fork enters it easily, the octopus is al dente
  3. When the octopus is cooked, turn off the heat and let it cool in its cooking water
  4. Heat abundant EVO oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot and glistening, fry eggplant cubes, tossing occasionally, until browned (about 5 minutes). Transfer to a large plate
  5. Heat a non-stick pan over high heat for a few minutes. Cut tomatoes by half and distribute them - with the cut side down - over the pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoons of EVO oil, add a pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar
  6. Cook over medium heat until the sugar begins to caramelize. Press the tomatoes with the back of a spoon and cook until the juice released by tomatoes evaporates, then let them cool down
  7. Remove the octopus from the water, and put it on a cutting board. Remove excess skin and cut the tentacles just below their junction to the body, then cut them into pieces
  8. Take a grill pan grid, the one you normally use for steaks, preferably non-stick. Grease it lightly with EVO oil and put it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place the octopus on it, add a pinch of salt, and cook it for about 10 minutes, turning it so that the heat reaches it uniformly
  9. Wash the basil leaves and place them in a blender. Pour EVO oil and blend until smooth
  10. Finally, we just need to arrange our serving plates: spread the hummus in 4 plates and lay in the middle octopus and eggplants. Grind some more pepper on top, garnish with caramelized tomatoes, pour few drops of basil-flavored oil and then bring it to the table

Nutrition Facts are listed for this recipe in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

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