Poor Octopussy. First, Major Dexter Smythe force-feeds it a deadly scorpion fish just to see how it would fare, then two fishermen kill it with the major’s spear and have it for supper. What an ignoble end for the creature of the eponymous short story (1966).
At least it died for a good cause. How did the fishermen cook it? We aren’t told, but I’ve got an idea that, benefitting from slow cooking, the octopus was stewed. Here’s one method inspired by Jamaican recipes.
- c. 0.5kg octopus, cleaned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
- 1 tsp (or to taste) hot pepper sauce
- Dash or two soy sauce
- Pinch each salt and black pepper
- 250ml coconut milk
- Finely chopped parsley to garnish
In a bowl, combine the octopus and lime juice and allow the octopus to marinate for at least an hour or preferably overnight.
Tip the contents of the bowl into a flame-proof casserole or saucepan and cover with a lid. Over a very low heat, allow the octopus to cook in its own juices for about 20 minutes, stirring very occasionally.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and gently cook the tomato and red pepper until softened. Add the garlic, thyme, hot pepper sauce, soy sauce and salt and black pepper, and mix well. Transfer the contents of the frying pan to the casserole, then pour in the coconut milk. Stir thoroughly, bring the liquid to the boil, replace the lid, then allow the stew to simmer for 50 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
Serve the stew with Jamaican-style rice and peas and garnish with parsley.