Recipe OctopusOctopus, hutspot and mojo sauce with pickled onion and fennel

During our Atlantic crossing, we had to find shelter due to a storm coming our way.

The captain decided to find refuge in Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife. As a result of this detour, the inspiration for this recipe emerged.

I love octopus. Unfortunately, they are not native to Dutch waters so you rarely see them on the menus in Holland. In Tenerife it’s a whole different story. Freshly caught specimens are plentiful and available at any market. Many restaurants serve them, ranging from very traditional tapa style dishes to more modern varieties in the upscale restaurants. As soon as I got the chance, I went to a local market to find one. The result was a delicious octopus dish for the crew, that I will share with you in this blog post.

My inspiration came from a dish I ate at
Tasca El Callejón in Santa Cruz.

The chef Alexandro made a delicious dish with octopus, butternut squash, zucchini slaw and mojo sauce. My version is slightly different. Spanish/Tenerife style octopus combined with my Dutch heritage and love for South-East Asia. My side dish is the typical Dutch comfort food “Hutspot”. Mostly eaten in winter, combined with a smoked sausage. The basic ingredients for “Hutspot” are carrots, onions and potatoes. My mother added bay leaves, cloves and mustard. In my recipe I replaced these for ginger, lemongrass  and kaffir lime to give it a South-East Asian flair. The pickles are very straightforward but delicious.

It sounds a bit strange but the result is a mouth-watering, succulent and flavorful dish. My crew loved it and already requested me to cook this recipe again! Let me know how you like it in the comment section below or drop me a line on Facebook!

Octopus, hutspot and mojo sauce with pickled onion and fennel

Ingredients for 4 persons


  • 2/3 kg Octopus fresh or frozen
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 leek
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 15 gr of parsley
  • ½ bulb of fennel
  • ½ bulb of garlic
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2/3 litre Fish broth or water
  • Pepper and salt
  • Few drops of liquid smoke (optional)


  • 500 gr potato
  • 500 gr carrot
  • 400 gr onion
  • 1 cm ginger
  • 1 lemongrass
  • 3 leaves of kaffir lime


  • 1 red onion
  • ½ bulb of fennel
  • 200ml rice vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Fish sauce or Salt
  • Fennels seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • ½ chili deseeded (optional)

Mojo sauce green

  • 1  green bell pepper
  • 15 grams of cilantro or parsley
  • 2  cloves of garlic
  • 1 ts ground cumin
  • 1dl red wine vinegar
  • 2dl olive oil
  • 1 slice of old bread

Mojo sauce red

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chili
  • 1ts ground cumin
  • 1dl red wine vinegar
  • 2dl olive oil
  • 1 slice of old bread


  1. Prepare the octopus; Wash and cut the vegetables in small cubes (reserve half of the fennel) and fry them on medium heat until soft.
    Wash and clean the octopus, remove the eyes and the “beak” on the bottom. Divide the octopus in three parts: the head and two portions of four tentacles each.
    Optional step; Dip the legs in boiling water to curl them (for a beautiful presentation later).
    Add the octopus, wine and herbs to the softened vegetables. Then fill up the pan with water/broth until the octopus is just under.
    Simmer for about 3 hours, then remove the octopus carefully. Chill the octopus quickly in an ice water bath and set aside.
  1. Making the pickles; Slice the red onion and half of the reserved fennel very thinly (I recommend to use a mandolin) and set aside in two separate bowls.
    Make the brine by mixing the vinegar, fish sauce/salt and sugar. Divide it over the two bowls. Add a pinch of crushed coriander seeds with the onions, and a pinch of crushed fennel seeds with the fennel. Then, if you prefer a spicy touch (optional) add a bit of finely sliced deseeded chilli. Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Start the “hutspot”; Washing and peel the potatoes. Cut the carrots and onions in small pieces and put them together in a pan with cold salted water. Crush the lemongrass, peel and grated ginger add to the pot of hutspot and add the kaffir-lime too.
    Boil for about 20-25 min until soft. When soft, remove the kaffir-lime leaves and lemongrass. Then crush the “hutspot” mix to a chunky mash and finish with pepper and salt.
  1. Prepare the Mojo sauces; Put all the ingredients in a (high)speed blender and blend until you have a tick sauce. Do this with the green pepper and repeat with the red peppers.
  2. When the octopus is completely chilled, separate the tentacles, Each leg is one portion.
    Put a frying pan on high heat and fry the octopus until golden and slightly crispy. Just a few minutes on each side. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and chopped parsley. Optional; give the octopus a slight BBQ flavor by adding a drop of liquid smoke.
  3. Place the “hutspot” on a warm plate, top it with the red onion pickle an then place the octopus. Top it off with the fennel pickle. Serve the mojo sauce on the plate or separate as you wish! Enjoy!
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