Summer is upon us and Gina is busy in Italy this month - teaching cooking classes and leading culinary tours.
We are excited about leading our first Palio tour at the end of this month for the 2 July Palio
! We'll post pictures and highlights on Facebook. For those of you that aren't on FB, we'll feature our travels next month!
Gina and Mary
Octopus is delicious when cooked well, is eaten all thru the Mediterranean region, is plentiful in the oceans and is cheap. I've been eating it in Italy for years, but the best I ever had was in Greece, grilled over wood coals and dressed with olive oil and lemon.
As simply as it's prepared, for years I was afraid to tackle it. If you do it wrong it will be tough, inedible, like chewing on a tire, and the first time I attempted it, it was exactly that. Disappointing enough that I didn't try it again for a long time.
I've seen fishermen beating octopi on rocks, trying to soften them. I've heard of how you must boil it with a cork in the water. Or boil it five times, or maybe dip it in boiling water five times. It was all so daunting, I played it safe and only ordered it when I went out.
Then my friend, Oriana, gave me a recipe with solid assurances the results would be nothing but tender and delicious, provided I use a pressure cooker. While they're back in style in the US, they never went out of fashion in Italy; but I've never been interested in understanding the technicalities of a pressure cooker. Seems dangerous and I certainly wasn't going to get one just to cook an octopus.
Yet I was intrigued by the simplicity of Oriana's recipe. It starts with frozen octopus. Apparently, the freezing breaks down the tissue and makes the octopus instantly tender. The ingredients are potatoes, a frozen octopus, a cup of white wine and to finish the dish, good olive oil.
So I tried it and it was one of the easiest and most delicious things I've ever made!
I hope you'll give it a try!
Octopus with Potatoes and Olive Oil
1 lb octopus, frozen
2 large potatoes, skin on & washed
1 glass white wine
Put everything in a heavy pot with a firmly closed lid (I tied mine down with string to assure that no steam would leak out). Put the pot on a medium heat and cook it an hour and a half.
Take the potatoes out and chop them, putting them on a serving platter. Take the octopus out and remove the purple skin. The skin is edible but I don't like the gelatinous consistency, so I discard it. Chop the octopus and toss it with the potatoes. Drizzle the whole thing with some really good olive oil and serve on a bed of arugula or lettuce. You can put a sprinkle of fresh parsley on if you like.