Monday, June 2, 2008

Greek Marinated Octopus

One of the most beautiful and intelligent marine animals, marinated Greek-style.

In the Greek Ionian Islands I used to wake up to the loud sound of beating - the locals wake up at the sunrise, when one can catch a large octopus in the surf with one's bare hands, then they beat the catch on the concrete quay to make it release the ink.
The octopus is then boiled for two hours, with vinegar added halfway through cooking, cut up and marinated in olive oil, vinegar and Greek herbs - oregano, rosemary, thyme and parsley.

I never woke up early enough to catch my own octopus, but I had it already cooked in a seaside tavern and loved it. So now I am reproducing the recipe with frozen baby octopus that I catch in a Chinese grocery store.

The babies come already cleaned and free of the ink, as a block, with 10-20 little octopi frozen together. They take about 15 minutes in cold water to defrost and separate. Then I boil them - since they are small, the cooking time is reduced to 40 minutes, - add red vine vinegar for the last 10 minutes, cut the tentacles from the "head" and slice the "head" into rings, and marinate them with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh herbs from the garden for at least an hour. They can keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Serve them cold, with country style bread and chilled Italian white wine.

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