Thursday, May 14, 2009
Masterchef Australia, Audition Dish - Chinese Style Octopus Carpaccio with Chilli and Snowpea Tendrils (served with Green Nam Jim)
This is a little dish is my investion. I came up with for the auditions for Australia's Masterchef. The judges loved the dish... however, it seems that the executive producers didn't love me, which is why I'm not on TV as we speak. Oh well, there is always next year.
This dish in influenced by two of my favourite chefs. Teague Ezard, who often cooks with a masterstock and loves his asian flavours. It's also influenced by an Italian octopus dish, which I had at Fifteen, Melbourne, which was handmade by the one and only Jamie Oliver. This dish is basically a fusion of both.
When you purchase your octopus, see if you can get octopus which has been in the tenderiser for a few hours. It's basically rolled around in a dryer like drum with some weights and beaten until it's tenderised.
1 Large Octopus, tentacles only.
3 litres (6 pints) water
250 ml (9 fl oz) light soy sauce
500 ml (16 fl oz) Shao Xing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
200 g (7 oz) yellow rock sugar
40 g (11⁄2 oz) fresh ginger
5 cloves garlic
3 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
10 g (2 teaspoons) dried mandarin peel
Spices for bag
4 whole cloves
4 star anise
1 teaspoon sichuan pepper
1 teaspoon licorice root
1 teaspoon dried chilli
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Finely chopped chillies
Snow pea tendrils
Finely sliced kaffir lime leaves
Place all of the spices into a piece of muslin cloth and tie into a bag. Put the spice bag along with all of the other ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 10 –15 minutes to allow the spices to infuse.
Once your masterstock is ready, bring it to a simmer and place your whole octopus in the pot. Cook the octopus for 3 hours on a gentle simmer. Cooking for this time will help make the octopus as tender as possible and also help the octopus to release it's gelatine like properties. This is important later.
Allow the octopus to cool in the stock, until it's cool enough to handle. Gently take the octopus out of the stock and lay the tentacles along side each other on top of a long strip of glad wrap.
VERY tightly roll up the tentacles in the glad wrap to make a big long sausage. Once tightly wrapped up, help the octopus sausage stay tight by wrapping some elastic bands around the sausage. This will help the octopus keep it's shape when sliced. Place the sausage in the fridge to allow the octopus to set overnight.
The next day you can remove the octopus from the fridge, also removing the elastic bands and glad wrap. The Octopus should hold it's sausage shape while it's cold, so you need to work very quickly and carefully.
With a extremely sharp knife, thinly slice the octopus and place each slice on a plate. This is where you will see the beautiful pattern that tentacles make.
Serve the Octopus with a Thai Green Nam Jim dipping sauce.