Octopus & Celery


Makes 6 Servings

One 3-pound octopus (frozen is fine), sac, beak, and eyes removed (have the fishmonger do this)
1 ½ cups dry white wine
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
1 sprig each fresh Italian parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
1 celery heart with tender leaves, base cut off, fibrous strings removed with a vegetable peeler, and thinly sliced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Maldon or other flaky sea salt


Combine the octopus, wine, onions, carrots, sliced celery ribs, herbs, and a wine cork, if you have one (the cork helps tenderize the octopus), in a large pot, add enough water to cover the octopus, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer gently until the thickest part of the octopus is tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the broth.


Drain the octopus (discard the vegetables and cork). Cut off the tentacles and strip the skin and suckers from the tentacles (the skin will come off easily once the octopus is cooked). Cut the head and tentacles into 1-inch pieces.


Combine the octopus, sliced celery heart, vinegar, and oil in a large bowl, mixing well. Season well with salt and serve, or let stand for 1 hour to bring out the flavors. (The octopus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.)


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Recipe courtesy of Molto Gusto (ecco 2010)


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