High in protein and omega-3, octopus is very simple to prepare and I would definitely recommend trying it at home. This carpaccio recipe is a great addition as part of a spring or summer meal.
1 whole octopus, defrosted
1 onion, halved
1 stick of celery
Small bunch of parsley
4 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 soft shell crabs, defrosted
1 egg white, whisked until frothy
50g plain flour
50g corn flour
Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, remove the beak from the underside of the octopus by cutting around it. Next make a cut above and below the eyes to remove them as well.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the onion, celery, parsley, peppercorns and bay leaves. When the water is boiling, take your octopus by the head and dunk the tentacles into the boiling water a few times so they curl up, then submerge the whole octopus in the water. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the octopus until tender, around 1 hour. Check your octopus by inserting a knife into the thickest part of a tentacle, it should go through very easily.
Remove the octopus from the water and allow to cool until cold enough to handle.
Cut the octopus into four pieces lengthways. Line a cylindrical container with cling film and pierce a few holes in it with a fork – a large plastic bottle with the top 1/3 cut off is perfect for this. Pile the pieces of octopus into the container and push down so they are compact. Place a weight on top and put in a bowl or on a plate in the fridge for 24 hours to set.
The next day, transfer the octopus briefly to the freezer while you prepare the crabs; this will make it easier to slice thinly.
Heat the oil to 190ºC in a heavy bottom pan or deep fat fryer. Mix together the flours and season with salt. Dip the crabs in egg white then coat them in the flour. Fry for 3 minutes until golden brown. Strain onto kitchen paper.
Remove the octopus from the freezer and unwrap it. With a sharp knife, slice it as thinly as possible and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, garnish with rocket leaves and parmesan shavings. Finally, cut the oft shell crabs in half then place them in the middle of the plate and sprinkle with a little sea salt.