Tandoori Octopus & tuna crudo with preserved lemon relish








See below for the German translation – siehe unten für die deutsche Übersetzung der Rezepte

I am a great fan of a p’tit apéro, the aperitif, and especially of the things that come along with it. It is such a nice start to a dinner, a get together: everyone relaxes (especially the host, i.e. me), has a chat, a sip and a nibble or two. Olives & nuts are beloved classics but to a taster-greedy person like me, anything from the Hors d’œuvres or Tapas department is the Non plus ultra. A small plate of this, one bite of that, a spoonful of something else, a nibble here, a taster there – I am in heaven.

Which brings us directly to Inaki Aizpitarte. Trust a Basque chef with highly revered restaurants in Paris to conjure up irresistible French-Basque tapas hybrids (in/for Bon Appetit): Sliced cured duck breast instead of Iberico ham, a trio of fantastic anchovies, olives and tangy green Guindilla peppers, fiery orange Tandoori-spiced octopus coins.

The jewel coloured octopus got served at a supper with friends, next to a tuna crudo (raw tuna slices), an incredible smoked pimenton & preserved lemon relish (inspired by another Aizpitarte recipe) to go with both & we have added ‘simple’ broad bean bruschette to balance those intense flavours.

Tuna with pimento & preserved lemon relish

Prep-time is minimal and everything can be prepared well in advance: the octopus cooks happily on it’s own without further involvement or – apparently, you can even get it pre-cooked these days. Sliced into thick coins, dusted with Tandoori spice powder, they only need a quick fry in a hot pan while the relish has been done (beforehand) in seconds and patiently awaits its turn in the fridge. Cutting the fresh tuna is of course a last minute task as is assembly of any bruschette.


P.S. If you are squeamish about the octopus or raw tuna, try the pimenton & preserved lemon relish with pan fried tuna – with equally amazing taste.

How to make your own preserved lemons? Easy, here’s the recipe.

More things for a relaxed aperitif: palmiers, cheese biscuits & cheese sables, rosemary & parmesan wafers, Tapenade, dip, Chipotle-lime mix (Texas trash), Aubergine involtini


Tandoori octopus with preserved lemon relish


Tandoori Octopus

Inspired by Inaki Aizpitarte’s recipes in Bon Appetit: I left out all other seasonings since I cook my own octopus in its juices: there is no need for extra salt then
Makes a great starter or appetizer for 4


2 cooked octopus tentacles or more (see below for recipe or buy precooked)
olive oil
1 teaspoon Tandoori powder (Indian spice blend)


Cut the octopus tentacles into 1 cm or ½ inch thick discs. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the octopus for about 2 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with the tandoori and toss to coat. Serve immediately with preserved lemon relish.

Note: If you buy precooked octopus tentacles, taste and if necessary, season with salt & pepper.
Pimenton & preserved lemon relish

Preserved lemon relish

Adapted from Aizpitarte’s recipe in Bon Appetit


½ preserved lemon
¼ cup finely chopped chives
½ teaspoon hot Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika powder)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons olive oil to taste

Finely chop the preserved lemon (I use rind & flesh, for a more fluid sauce take just the rind), stir with chives, smoked paprika & lemon juice.



Octopus / pulpo

1 whole octopus (any size from 1-2 kg or 2½ – 5lbs.) or a part of one
a glass of white wine
1 cup of water
1 bay leaf, crumpled
a few black pepper corns
olive oil


Prepare the octopus: separate the bag shaped body (it can be cleaned and used as well) from the tentacles, leaving you with a starfish like part. Turn over and remove the hard beak, pressing it through the centre with your thumbs. Place into a pot (with a lid), add white wine, water, the bay leaf (crumple it or rip around the edges to release its aromatic oils), pepper & a generous splash of olive oil. Cover and bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40-50 Minutes. Take it out of its fragrant liquor and either leave to cool as for this dish or use warm.

I like the dark purple skin in contrast to the white flesh, if you don’t: it easily rubs of.


Tandoori octopus coins with preserved lemon relish

Tandoori Oktopus

Adaptiert von Inaki Aizpitartes Rezept in Bon Appetit


2 gekochte Oktopusarme (siehe unten für Rezept)
1 TL Tandoorigewürz

Die Tentakel in ca. 1cm große Scheiben schneiden. Etwas Olivenöl in einer Pfanne erhitzen und den Oktopus für ca. 2 Minuten auf jeder Seite braten. Anschließend mit dem Tandooripuder bestreuen und die Krakenstücke darin schwenken. Sofort mit einem Relish aus eingelegten Zitronen auftragen.


Relish aus eingelegten Zitronen

Adaptiert von Inaki Aizpitarte’s Relish in Bon Appetit

½ eingelegte Zitrone
¼ Tasse fein gehackter Schnittlauch
½ TL scharfer Pimentón de la Vera (geräuchertes Paprikapulver)
2 EL Zitronensaft
2-3 EL Olivenöl (nach Geschmack)

Die eingelegte Zitrone fein hacken (Rinde & Fleisch, für eine dünnere Sauce nur die Rinde verwenden). Mit dem Schnittlauch, dem Paprika und Zitronensaft zu einem würzigen Relish verrühren.

Das Rezept für in Salz eingelegte Zitronen ist hier. Ansonsten sind sie auch fertig in gut sortierten Gewürzhandlungen oder nordafrikanischen Geschäften zu finden.




1 Oktopus/Kraken/Pulpo (ca. 1- 2kg), man kann auch nur einen Teil nehmen
1 Glas Weißwein
etwas Wasser
frischer Lorbeer (1 großes Blatt)
schwarze Pfefferkörner

Den Oktopus vorbereiten: den beutelförmigen Rumpf (er kann auch gesäubert mitgekocht werden) von den Tentakeln trennen. Die sternförmigen Tentakel umdrehen und mit den Daumen die harten Kauwerkzeuge durch die Mitte drücken. In einen Topf mit Deckel geben, Wein, Wasser (ca. 250ml), Lorbeerblatt (kurz zerdrücken oder einreißen um die aromatischen Öle freizugeben), Pfeffer und einem Schuß Olivenöl hinzugeben, Deckel auflegen und aufkochen. Dann die Temperatur reduzieren und ca. 40-50 Minuten leise simmern lassen. Aus der Flüssigkeit nehmen und entweder wie für dieses Gericht abkühlen lassen oder warm verwenden. Ich mag den Kontrast von dunkelvioletter Haut zu dem weißen Fleisch, wer es nicht mag, die Haut lässt sich leicht abreiben.


4 thoughts on “Tandoori Octopus & tuna crudo with preserved lemon relish

    • Thank you so much Amanda, I don’t know what to say, this is such a nice comment. N xx

      P.S. It is quite astonishing how close, though different the taste of this relish comes to an Indian lime pickle – really puzzling.

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