We set foot towards the other side of the Algarve, with chef Megan, to realise why there are traditional flavours that are worth keeping. The smell and the taste of the sea continues to be present in the octopus eggs that are dried through a method that is becoming uncommon. In search of authenticity, we understand that the people of the Eastern Algarve continue to choose octopus roe to eat with their friends in the company of one or two beers. So we were trying to figure out how this product is made and how it is typically consumed.
The fishermen do not catch the octopus just for the eggs. These turn out to be a product that is not always available and, its production is sustainable, as it takes advantage of a part of the octopus that would otherwise be wasted.
It was explained that each octopus has only one egg that is removed and placed in a bucket with salt for 2/3 hours. The roe is then laid out on a smooth surface and left in the sun throughout the day. At night, it is collected to avoid getting humidity, and the process is repeated the next day with the egg facing the other side. It takes an average of 2 days in the sun to prepare this delicacy that can be eaten after being roasted in charcoal or placed directly in the toaster to get a little soft. Traditionally, thin slices are cut and seasoned with olive oil, garlic and parsley or, for the purists, eat au naturel sliced thinly.
At Mar d’ Estórias, we chose to use the roe in the most simple manner – finely cut in thin slices and placed over our roasted octopus. The perfect finish to remind us that the authenticity of the octopus can be combined with the sustainability of its use to complete this dish with an even more traditional flavour.