Monday, 21 July 2014

Polp allada: sous-vide octopus Catalan style

Since a lot of people seem to be adopting sous-vide cooking at home with Sous Vide Supreme I’m going to post some easy recipes of traditional dishes, such Polp Allada, a typical dish of the Catalan tradition of the northwest of Sardinia, with the technological improvement offered by the progress. Sous-vide cooking is a method that was developed in France in the 1970′s but that has gone mainstream only  in recent years. I think where sous-vide excels is at maintaining the integrity of ingredients in a way that was once impossible, and that’s achieved by cooking food in air-vacuumed bags for an extended period of time at relatively low but tightly controlled temperatures.
Octopus is a notoriously tricky ingredient, one wrong step can lead you to chew on a cephalopod chewing gum – and it’s just as bad as it sounds. When you get it right though, it’s pure bliss. Sous-vide is a great technique to use on octopus as it produces perfectly tender tentacles without the hassle. You can then finish them up on the grill for a little bit of char just before serving or, as you do in this recipe, deep frying before combining with the sour and spicy depth of the allada sauce.


  • For the sous-vide octopus:

    • 1 medium-sized octopus
    • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
    • 1 onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 sprigs of thyme
    • 1 tablespoon red peppercorn
    • 1 tea spoon cilantro seeds
    • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    • Zest from a bio lemon

    • For the allada:

35 gr sundried tomatoes

5/6 cloves of garlic

150 gr peeled tomatoes

2/3 bay leaves

1/3 cup of white wine vinegar

1 chilly pepper

pinch of salt and pepper


  • For the sous-vide octopus:

    • Place 8 cups of water and the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaves and parsley stems in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the white wine vinegar and keep at a simmer. Wash the octopus in plenty of cold water and remove the tentacles with a sharp knife. Blanch the octopus for about 45 seconds and remove from the poaching and into an ice bath to cool rapidly. Drain. Cool the poaching liquid.
    • Place the octopus in two separate sous-vide bags. Add a few tablespoons of the poaching liquid to the bags, then lemon zest, red peppercorn and cilantro seeds and vacuum-seal on high.
    • Place the bags in the sous-vide machine for 4 hours at 185′F (85′C). Cool in an ice bath. Remove the octopus from the bags, cover with rice flour and deep fry for 30/40 seconds in rice oil. Drain and set aside on paper to absorb oil.

For the allada:

Cut the garlic and place it in a hot saucepan with olive oil. Add the sundried tomatoes finely chopped. Stir gently then add the the peeled tomatoes which have been finely chopped too previously. Add bay leaves and vinegar and let evaporate. Then lower the heat and let the sauce reduce. Throw in the octopus (either whole tentacles or you can cut them in small pieces before), adjust with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two and then turn off the flame and set aside to cool off.
Place the polp allada in a non reactive bowl, making sure that the sauce cover the octopus and let it rest in the fridge over night.
You can serve it cold or quickly reheat before serving.

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