Growing up, I tried just about anything I saw my father eat. I was not by any means a picky eater and I didn’t really need to know exactly what I was eating because I trusted my father whole heartedly and if he said it was good, then I was going for it. The same can be said for my Grandmother Cap or Queen Bee as my friends and I like to refer to her as.. she once tricked me into eating wild boar by claiming it was steak. I can’t say I didn’t have my suspicions after seeing my uncle’s hunting pics, but far be it from me, to disappoint anyone especially Queen Bee with a lack of appetite.
Octopus and I have had a long history together because this 8 legged delicacy of tastiness has been a Christmas Eve staple, my whole life. Most Italians celebrate the 7 fishes of the sea.. my family celebrates “ALL” the fishes of the sea and some of them have undoubtedly made their way on to the “endanger of being extinct list,” following our annual celebration!
I have so many fond memories of Christmas Eve at Queen Bee’s house. I used to love to watch her prepare and cook and I really loved being her little helper. I can still remember my Grandmother enlisting my help to clean the octopus. Most kids would have ran for the hills, but I was bound and determined to show Queen Bee that I could handle it. Making this delicious dish the other night, brought back that memory. I feel like yesterday, I was standing on a stool over my grandmother’s kitchen sink with an octopus on my hand.. I know, I know, not a pretty pic, but the other night as I was grilling and dicing this up.. I was a little intimidated, and then I thought.. I got this! ?
*Octopus significantly shrinks when you cook it, so I would recommend using 1 pound per person unless you are using it for a salad of some sort (as a rule of thumb, simmer to tenderize for 13 minutes per pound).
- 1 pound octopus (cleaned)
- 2 cups of white wine
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 of a lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 wine corks
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 garlic bulb
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of bacon lard
- Place the octopus in a zip lock bag. Beat the octopus for a few seconds to tenderize it. You can use a meat mallet or a wooden spoon. Remove the octopus from the bag. Place them in a small pot and add the wine and the water. Then toss in a half of lemon and the wine corks. Add the bay leaves, the apple cider vinegar, and the peppercorns. Slice the garlic in half and add that too with the paper on. Cover the octopus and bring it to a boil. Then reduce it to a simmer for 13 minutes. You’ll notice the octopus will begin to curl. Once it’s done. Remove it from the pot. Slice it up and add it to a mixing bowl with the minced garlic. Melt a tablespoon of bacon lard on a grill pan. Toss the octopus and garlic and place it on the grill. Give a few tosses over the course of about 5 minutes or so. Toss it in a bowl with the olive oil and serve.