Chef Daniele Usai infuses his octopus recipe with plenty of flavour by using a braising liquid of sharp sour cherry juice and fragrant fennel, hibiscus and cardamom
For the braised octopus:
• 1 octopus
• 2 sprigs of wild fennel
• 6 hibiscus flowers
• 6 cardamom pods
• olive oil
• 1 bunch of rosemary, chopped
• 20g of wood chips, from a whiskey barrel
• 80g of sour cream
• 16 cherries, in brandy
• purple radish cress, to garnish
1 Start by preparing the octopus. Clean the octopus well and cut open the head to allow you to carefully remove the entrails.
2 Rinse well with cold water then place the octopus in the freezer for 24 hours to help break down the tough fibres before cooking.
4 Add half of the sour cherry juice, the wild fennel sprigs, hibiscus flowers and cardamom pods. Bring the liquid to the boil then turn the heat down slightly to a gentle simmer.
6 Allow to cool in the cooking liquid then remove and separate out the tentacles.
8 Roll up the cling film to create a thick sausage shape of the tentacles, squeezing tightly to remove as much air as possible.
12 Pipe or spoon over a few dots of sour cream and garnish with the brandied cherries and shiso leaves.
13 To smoke the dish, place the wood chips and chopped rosemary into a smoking gun. Using a cloche to cover the plates, add the smoke and leave for 40 seconds before serving.