It might be a bit of an acquired taste, but former MasterChef Australia winner-turned-judge, Andy Allen, has shared this recipe for our readers from his time on the reality television show. You’ll also find it in our Taste section, page 22 in the current edition.
Season 12 of MasterChef Australia wraps up on Monday night.
Burnt Eggplant Yoghurt
500g eggplant; 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil; 1 brown onion, roughly diced; 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped; ¼ bunch parsley, roughly chopped; 20g tahini; 1 lemon, juiced; 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil; 400g natural yoghurt; salt and pepper, to season.
1 large red onion, quartered; 2 large red chillies, halved; 35g fresh ginger, sliced; 1 garlic clove; 1 bunch coriander, stems and roots only; 1 tsp black peppercorns; 250ml white wine vinegar; 2.5L water; 2kg Fremantle octopus.
100g cooked freekeh; 1 roma tomato, seeds removed and flesh diced; ¼ cup pomegranate seeds; ¼ red onion ‑ finely diced; 50g roasted natural almonds, roughly chopped; ½ bunch of mint, roughly chopped; ½ bunch of parsley, roughly chopped; salt and pepper, to season.
150ml green grape juice; 50-75ml Green Chilli Pickling Liquor; 60g extra virgin olive oil; salt and pepper, to season.
Smoked Paprika Dressing
1 tbs smoked paprika; 2 lemons ‑ finely zested and juiced; 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil; salt and pepper, to season.
1. For the Burnt Eggplant Yoghurt, place a cake rack over your gas burner. Alternatively, you can do this over the grill part of your BBQ.
Place the eggplant directly over the flame until you have blackened all sides. You will know when it’s done as little pockets of steam will start to appear and the eggplant will start to soften.
2. For the Braised Octopus, combine the red onion, chilli, ginger, garlic, coriander stems and roots, peppercorns, vinegar and water in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil over high heat.
3. Add the octopus to the saucepan and place over high heat. Bring the mixture back up to a boil then reduce to low heat and simmer for 25-35 minutes or until almost tender. The cooking time will depend on size of the octopus. When cooked, carefully take the hands out one by one, making sure to not rub the skin off.
4. For the Burnt Eggplant Yoghurt, place eggplant into a large mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap set aside for 10 minutes to steam.
5. When cool enough to handle, cut the eggplants in half lengthways and spoon out the flesh.
6. Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Warm the olive oil then add the brown onion, garlic and parsley and cook down for 7 minutes or until the onion has good caramelisation.
7. Add the eggplant flesh and reduce the saucepan to medium heat. Cook the eggplant out, occasionally stirring for 15 minutes or until the colour has changed on the eggplant from a pale white colour to a darker grey colour. Remove saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool.
8. For the Freekeh Tabouli, combine freekeh, tomato, pomegranate seeds, onion and almonds in a medium bowl and set aside.
9. For the Burnt Eggplant Yoghurt, once cooled transfer to the cannister of a stick blender. Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, yoghurt and seasoning and puree. Transfer to a medium bowl.
10. Meanwhile, for the Grape Vinaigrette, combine grape juice, pickling liquor, olive oil and seasoning in the cannister of a stick blender and process to emulsify. Set the dressing aside.
11. For the Smoked Paprika Dressing, combine paprika, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning in a medium bowl and whisk well. Set the dressing aside.
12. Meanwhile, dress the Freekeh Tabouli liberally with the Grape Vinaigrette and toss.
13. To finish the cooking of the Braised Octopus, remove octopus from the braising liquid and transfer to a tray. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and place over a hot charcoal BBQ or hibachi and cook for 1-2 minutes each side.
14. Meanwhile, for the Freekeh Tabouli, add herbs, season with salt and pepper and toss well.
15. Finally, roll the octopus in the Smoked Paprika Dressing to coat.
16. To plate, place a couple of tablespoons of the Burnt Eggplant Yoghurt in the middle of the plate and with the back of your spoon, spreading into a large round. Place a mound of the fresh salad inside the circle and top with 1-2 pieces of octopus.