A plate of chargrilled octopus with fava bean puree and chicory and chorizo oil

Recipe: Slow-cooked octopus, white fava beans puree, chicory and chorizo oil

Summer means seafood and summer also means most of us have a little bit more time and what’s better in your spare time than flexing your culinary muscle and tackling a type of protein you may have not worked with before.

Vesper Bistro and Bar’s Francesco Castellana has got you covered on both fronts. Check out his slow-cooked octopus with white fava beans puree with chicory and chorizo oil recipe below.

But remember, it’s summer, so maybe you’re all about doing less. Treat yourself, book a table at Vesper Bistro and Bar at 25 Toorak Road in South Yarra, and let Frank and his team show you how it’s actually done. Bookings: https://vesperbistroandbar.com.au

Serves four


For the Octopus

4 x large tentacles of South Australian Octopus (approx. 800g)

50 gm red onion (peeled and sliced)

50 gm carrot (peeled and sliced)

50 gm celery (diced)

40 ml cooking olive oil

200 ml red wine for cooking (pinot noir recommended)

2 x whole garlic clove

1 sprig of thyme

1 sprig of rosemary

1 sprig of sage

2 x bay leave 

½ tsp. white peppercorn

6 gm cooking fine salt

For the white fava beans puree 

100 gm Split white fava beans (soaked in plain water for 2 hours)

180 gm Dutch cream potato (washed, peeled and diced)

1l vegetable stock

50 ml extra virgin olive oil

Fine salt to taste 

Water for blanching

For the chorizo oil

100 gm air dried Spanish chorizo

100 ml olive oil for cooking

1/8 tsp sweet paprika

1/8 tsp hot paprika

1 pinch of cayenne pepper

To garnish

120 gm chicory (well washed)

3 gm Maldon salt flakes

15 ml white balsamic vinegar (can be replaced by rice vinegar)


  • To prepare the octopus, wash the tentacles well under cold running water for a few minutes
  • In a large bowl combine the octopus tentacles with the other ingredients: red onion, carrot, celery, cooking oil, garlic, aromatic herbs, peppercorn and salt. Mix everything well and let macerate in the bowl covered with cling film (or airtight container) for at least two hours in the refrigerator (better overnight)
  • Preheat the oven to 160 C˚ with fan (or 180 C˚ static). After macerating, place the octopus mixture in a deep cooking tray and cover with aluminium foil, then cook in the oven for at least one and half hours or until the tentacles are soft
  • Remove from the oven and carefully pick out the octopus tentacles from the tray, set them aside till needed (the octopus should reduce in size by 50 per cent). Strain, cool and preserve all the residue cooking liquid
  • To make the puree, in a pot blanch the split fava beans (previously soaked) in salty boiling water for eight minutes. Then, dispose the blanching water, keep the fava beans in the pot and add the vegetable stock and the diced potato. Keep cooking over medium heat for 40 minutes, both potato and fava beans must be completely cooked through
  • Using a powerful blender, blitz the potato and fava bean at medium speed until smooth, fold in extra virgin olive oil and salt to balance the flavour
  • Keep the puree well covered in a warm place
  • To make the chorizo oil, peel the chorizo from the skin and grate it into small grains. Inside a shallow pan, combine the grated chorizo with olive oil, paprikas and cayenne pepper. Then, let it infuse over low heat until the chorizo is crispy and fully melted (approx. 40 minutes). Keep the infused oil warm before serving
  • To garnish, slice the chicory into 4cm leaf and stalk, then dress it nicely with white balsamic vinegar and salt. Allow the dressing to “break” the texture of the chicory for about 10 minutes
  • To assemble the dish, grill the octopus over a BBQ using a kitchen brush to drizzle its own cooking liquid over the skin
  • In a serving plate arrange the fava bean puree in the center, then top it with the grilled tentacles, place the chicory on the side and dress everything with a generous spoonful of warm chorizo oil

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