Sometimes when you meet someone you just know that you’d like to cook an octopus with them.
Nikky is one half of the team behind NorthSouth Food. As her alter ego Miss South, she writes on various topics related to urban eating, while her brother in the rural North contributes posts of a more pastoral sort. Kind of like the town mouse and country mouse of food blogging.
Nikky is what most would call an adventurous cook. Undaunted by unusual ingredients and totally au fait with offal, her previous culinary adventures have included brain nuggets, squirrel satay and pig’s heart.
But back to the octopus.
I’ve no idea what started us talking about octopuses (octopi?) when I met Nikky at Meet Brixton, but it turned out it was one of the few species not to have made an appearance in her kitchen. And so a plan was formed to acquire one and, er, find out how to cook it.
First stop was awesome fishmonger Dagons in Brixton Village. A fixture in the arcade for more years than anyone seems able to remember, Dagons is friendly, helpful and inexpensive. Our multi-legged victim was but four quid. A handful of samphire to go with it? One Great British pound. A whole mackerel for that night’s tea cost just £2. And I could have bought three sea bass for £7, but at that point we decided to step away from the dead fish before it all got out of hand.
The Spanish butchers on Atlantic Road furnished us with some rather nice baby tomatoes. And with some parsley from Wing Tai, a bag of lemons from the stall under the railway bridge and a box of Alphonso mangos from Dannys for pudding we were good to go.
So to cook our floppy friend. And it couldn’t have been easier really. On the advice of Rick Stein we wanged him into a pan of simmering water; retrieving him about 45 minutes later firm, white fleshed, and remarkably edible-looking. Triumphant, we chopped him up and chucked him in a pan with some spiced, fried potatoes and sat down to eat lunch.
So, dear reader, if you are ever lucky enough to find someone who wants to cook an octopus with you, embrace it. It tastes great.