Octopus Burger with Fried Okra, Tomato Salsa and Smoked Paprika Aioli

Recipes

After tasting Shrimpy’s delicious patty-free prawn burger, I thought to myself, what can I make that’s not too different.

Because I love a good old challenge, I decided to make an octopus burger. The challenge – well, I had never cooked an octopus before, let alone make a burger out of it.

 

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In the end, I was pretty satisfied. As I wanted the burger to look very much like an octopus burger, I let the tentacles hang out of the bun. I also decorated the burger with a caper berry and one fried okra to give it that extra flavour punch.

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Serves: 2

Time: 1.5 hours

Difficulty: Medium

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kg octopus
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 2 bread buns
  • knob of butter

Fried Okra

  • Vegetable oil
  • 6 okra
  • 400ml buttermilk
  • 250g fine yellow cornmeal
  • ¾ tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Smoked Paprika Aioli

  • 100g mayonnaise
  • 60g fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 tbsp each smoked paprika and ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic

Tomato Salsa

  • 1 tsp olive tapenade
  • Bunch of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large diced tomato
  • 1 tsp diced jalapeno 
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tsp capers
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

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Method:

  1. Prepare the octopus. You can buy it fresh or frozen. If frozen, make sure you defrost it in the fridge the night before. If fresh, make sure to clean it, gut it and have the beak removed. To gradually temper the octopus, prepare a pot of salted water to boil and dip the octopus up to four times in the boiling water. You will notice the tentacles begin to curl. After the fourth time, drop the octopus in the pot of boiling water. Reduce the heat immediately and simmer gently for 45–60 minutes. It’s important that the water is turned down to a gentle simmer once the octopus is in the pan. Cooking it too quickly will result in a rubbery texture. From time to time, you might need to turn the octopus upside down to ensure that it’s all cooked evenly. Check tenderness with a knife. Once the octopus is tender, leave to cool at room temperature.
  2. As the octopus is cooking, prepare the aioli and salsa. These can also be prepared the night before. To make the aioli, mix together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lime juice, smoked paprika, minced garlic, cumin, and salt in a small bowl. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.The taste of this sauce will improve as it sits and the flavours meld. If possible, prepare it several hours or a day in advance.
  3. To make the salsa, finely chop the tomato, jalapeno, parsley and shallot. Mix in the capers and olive tapenade and add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Next up is the fried okra. For this, you need to place buttermilk in a shallow dish, and place cornmeal in another shallow dish. Stir desired amount of salt and pepper into buttermilk and cornmeal. Dip okra in buttermilk; dredge in cornmeal, shaking off excess. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a large Dutch oven or skillet; heat to 350° – you can test this with a thermometer or use your best guess. Fry okra, in pairs, 2 to 3 minutes or until brown and crisp, turning once. Remove okra, using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Once the octopus has cooled, begin to cut it into rough chunks saving some tentacles for decoration. Alternatively, you could slice the octopus horizontally to stack slices neatly on top of each other. Once that is done, add pieces to a bowl and season with a dash of olive oil, parsley, crushed garlic and salt and pepper. Heat up the grill and place the octopus pieces on the grill once very hot. Once the octopus begins to brown remove and place the grilled pieces back into the bowl.
  6. In the meantime, butter up the sliced buns and place firmly on the grill for a couple of minutes on both sides after removing the octopus.
  7. Now the burger is ready to be prepared. Spread a generous amount of paprika aioli on one side of the bun. Top with tomato salsa. Add the octopus and two fried okras. Drizzle with more aioli sauce and place top bun. As an option, serve with an okra and caper berry by driving a toothpick into the centre of the bun.

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2 thoughts on “Octopus Burger with Fried Okra, Tomato Salsa and Smoked Paprika Aioli

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