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Roasted octopus with stewed aubergine, chorizo & baby leeks | The Kitchen

Roasted octopus with stewed eggplant and chorizo & baby leeks sauce
Roasted octopus with stewed eggplant and chorizo & baby leeks sauce   -   Copyright  Fabios' restaurant
By Chef Christoph Brunnhuber

Fabios restaurant in Vienna is the brainchild of Fabio Giacobello.

His head chef, Christoph Brunnhuber, shares one of their star dishes with The Kitchen: roasted octopus with stewed aubergine and chorizo sauce.

Octopus is a fundamental component of Mediterranean cuisine and it is, hence, always part of our menu. The dish has become a staple at Fabios, and our kitchen crew regularly presents new interpretations. This one we share with you stands out by the combination of octopus and chorizo, which create a fine harmony.

Fabios
Fabios' head chef Christoph BrunnhuberFabios

Polipo Arrosto con Melanzane stufate, Chorizo & Porro Giovane (Roasted octopus with stewed aubergine, chorizo & baby leek sauce)

Serves: 4

Cooking time: 1 hour prepping + 1 to 2 ½ hours on the stove.

Ingredients

For the octopus

  • 1 fresh octopus, approximately 1.2kg. (We purchase from the Mediterranean region, especially southern Italy and France.)
  • 50 grams of breadcrumbs
  • 8 baby leeks, cleaned.
  • 1 bay leaf, if using (see method)
  • 1 teaspoon of white peppercorns, if using (see method)

**For the stewed **aubergine

  • 1 aubergine, cut into small dices (Macédoine cut)
  • 1 courgette, cut into small dices (Macédoine cut)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley (finely chopped)
  • 100 grams of dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 180 ml of olive oil
  • ⅓ cup of vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper

For the chorizo and baby leeks sauce

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 50 grams of leeks, cleaned thoroughly and cut into small dices
  • 50 grams of fennel cut into small dices
  • 1 stalk of celery cut into small dices
  • 35 grams of celery root cut into small dices
  • 200 grams of chorizo, cut into small pieces
  • 200 grams butter
  • 15 grams of tomato paste
  • 100 ml Noilly Prat (French vermouth – alternatively: some other kind of vermouth)
  • 500 ml of shellfish stock (or seafood stock)

Method

For the octopus

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C.
  2. Clean and wash the octopus, then cut off the tentacles.
  3. Now cook the octopus, there are two ways of doing this.
  4. If you have a steam cooker, steam the octopus for two and half hours. If you don’t, don’t worry. Fill a big pot with salted water and bring it to a boil. Add a bay leaf, the peppercorns and the octopus, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the octopus until it is tender, about 45 minutes. Attention, cooking time may be less for smaller tentacles and sometimes more for larger, tougher ones. Your best measurement is to start checking tenderness (which is easy!) after 30 minutes have passed. Once the thickest part of the leg yields the point of a small knife with little resistance, it is done. Do not cook further or it will begin to dry out and toughen again.
  5. While the star of your dish (the octopus) cooks, boil the baby leaks in salted water until soft, about 12 minutes, and put aside.

**For the stewed **aubergine

  1. Salt the cubes of aubergine and courgette and let them drain for about 10 minutes. Dry them off with a paper towel.
  2. Heat up a large pan with some olive oil and toast the breadcrumbs until crispy.
  3. Set a large pot with oil ⅓ cup of vegetable oil and fry the aubergine and courgette cubes until golden brown. Let them rest on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
  4. Put the rest of the ingredients for the stewed aubergine (except the olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper) in a bowl. Now slowly stir in olive oil. Add the fried aubergine and courgette cubes and season with salt and cayenne pepper. Toss to coat and set aside.

For the chorizo and baby leeks sauce

  1. Heat the same large pot over medium-high heat and add 50 grams of butter. Immediately add the chorizo and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the shallot, garlic, leek, fennel and both kinds of celery to the pot. Let it sweat for approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Now add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the vermouth and let it boil until the liquid is reduced.
  3. Now pour the stock, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.
  4. Once 45 minutes have passed, blend everything with a mixer (yes, the chorizo with garlic, leek, fennel, etc). We will make a sauce. Once you mix, pass it through a strainer to get a silky texture. Add the rest of the butter to cream the sauce.

Time to grill the octopus.

TIP: During winter, you can grill in the oven with the broiler function, or in a hot, cast-iron pan. For broiling, let the oven door slightly open while broiling to ensure that the heating will stay on continuously and you'll get a nice, even temperature.

  1. So, set the oven or a cast-iron skillet over high heat (or barbecue if it’s hot where you are) and brown both the steamed octopus and the baby leeks you boiled before. Flip halfway through cooking, once the skin is nice and browned.
  2. While you grill, reheat the aubergine stew and the sauce.

Serve

Put a base of the stewed aubergine on a plate and place the grilled tentacles and baby leek on top. Finish off by adding the sauce around the dish, sprinkling the toasted breadcrumbs over it.

Pair it with: La Rioja Alta Reserva 2010, Vina Ardanza. Rioja, Spain.

This is a fine and spicy wine, both complex and extremely harmonious on the palate. You will find elegant aromas of dark cherries, plums, blackberries and vanilla.

Michelin says of Fabios: "The Italian cuisine served in this fashionable city restaurant is just as modern and minimalist as the interior design – two equally good reasons to give it a try!"