Octopus adds a fishy twist to pease pudding, the traditional English dish made from dried peas. Long, slow cooking renders the octopus beautifully tender.
1 medium octopus, cleaned
2 litres/3½ pints rapeseed oil
300g/10½oz yellow split peas, soaked in a bowl of water overnight
1 litre/1¾ pints ham stock
2 bay leaves
small pinch saffron
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
½ lemon, juice only
1 tsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pease pudding, clean the octopus by inverting the head and removing the insides. Rinse under cold water and pat dry. Place the octopus in a large pan and submerge completely in the oil. Simmer over a very low heat for two hours until tender, then drain and wipe off any excess oil with kitchen paper.
Remove the tentacles from the octopus and griddle in a hot griddle pan until caramelised, turning frequently. Slice the tentacles into 3mm/⅛in slices, keeping the end of the tentacles for the garnish, and set aside.
Drain the split peas and place the soaked split peas into a pan with the ham stock, bay leaves and saffron. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 1½ hours or until tender. Allow to cool in the stock, then drain the peas and remove the bay leaves.
Meanwhile, make the ragoût. Wash the winkles and add to a pan of simmering salted water. Cook for 20 minutes and then drain. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shells using a toothpick. Trim the ‘foot’ from the bottom of each winkle, remove the food sack and discard it. Roughly chop the winkle meat and reserve.
Meanwhile, boil another pan of salted water and add the razor clams. Cook for 10-15 seconds, or until they open then drain. Strain the liquor through a fine sieve and set aside, reserving the cooking liquor.
Thinly slice the tubular end of the razor clams and set aside. Place the leftover body parts of the razor clams into a pan with 250ml/9fl oz of the cooking liquor and heat through gently to infuse.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and gently cook the shallots with the garlic paste until softened. Add the vinegar and cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Add the 250ml/9fl oz of infused liquor and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Bring to the boil and reduce until syrupy. Just before serving, add the winkles and razor clams and heat through gently.
Place the split peas, sliced octopus, parsley, lemon juice and capers in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
For the gurnard, score the skin of the fish diagonally and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the fish, skin-side down, for three minutes. Turn the fillets over and remove the pan from the heat - the residual heat of the pan will finish cooking the fish.
Place a pile of the pease pudding in the centre of each plate and spoon a little more around. Place the gurnard on top of the pudding, spoon over the ragoût and garnish with the reserved tentacles.
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