Confit baby octopus
Life is too short to confit a baby octopus? That is where you are wrong. Completely wrong. This was possibly the easiest thing I have cooked in a while. Admittedly not the healthiest, but certainly the easiest. If you can make a cup of tea very, very slowly and like the kind of recipe that calls for you to completely abandon what you are cooking for an hour and go off and put your feet up, then this is for you. This is also for you if you haven't made it out to the mediterranean and fancy a good bit of seafood to eat with a cold beer while closing your eyes and pretending you are outside a taverna in cove listening to the waves lap the shore, rather than sitting in your rather sticky kitchen.
I can't even call this a recipe as it is so simple but I did the following. Stuck a couple of handfuls of cleaned baby octopus from the fishmonger in a pan. Added a dried chilli, a bay leaf, a carrot cut into chunks, and three cloves of garlic. I then stuck five whole peppercorns in there alongside a good sprinkle of salt and topped it up with olive oil until the octopus were covered. This was not your finest virgin olive oil here but rather the basic entry level olive oil.
This was then cooked on a low heat for about an hour, after which the octopus and the carrots were both tender. As it cooks, the octopus do create a bit of scum on the surface of the oil; I simply skimmed this off periodically. Obviously not too periodically - after all I don't want this to become the kind of recipe where you actually have to do anything.
A word of warning here... this dish is pretty fishy. If you are someone whose fish consumption starts and ends at the fish finger, this probably isn't for you. However, if you would willingly wallow in a vat of bouillabaisse, this will be right up your street. I scooped them out of the oil, dressed with a big squeeze of lemon and some crusty bread, put my espadrilles on and pretended I was in the med.