Insalata di Polipo
Octopus was a late discovery for me as a food and fish lover. The thought of it before trying it was pretty negative, I imagined that the texture would be unbearable and that it would be chewy and hard to eat. It can be, but not if prepared correctly and hardly ever here in Puglia. It has recently become one of my favorite sea animals to prepare. A good plan ahead food, leaving it in the freezer for a few days to burst their little nerves and become more tender, plus there are so many delicious ways to make it. My introduction to octopus was as a salad and it remains one of my favorite ways to eat it. This is a very simple and classic way to prepare it as a salad, with lemon, oil, garlic and parsley. Delicious.
Insalata di Polipo
translated from Giallo Zafferano
- 1 800 gram octopus, cleaned
- 1 rib of celery
- 2 cloves of garlic, separated, pressed and left whole
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 carrot
- 2 cloves
- 1 generous sprig of parsley
- juice of ½ a lemon
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat a pot of water on the stove with the carrot and the celery, left whole, bay leaf, salt and the cloves. Bring to a boil.
Once the water is almost at a boil, hold the octopus by the head and submerge it into the water, dunking it three or four times until the tentacles start to curl up and become softer. Completely submerge the octopus into the water, lower the heat to a minimum and cover. Cook for about 30 to 35 minutes (about 20 minutes for every 500 grams/ 1 pound). When it is cooked, using tongs, remove the octopus from the water and place it on a cutting board. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
Place the pieces in a bowl and dress with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic and minced parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.
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