Octopus Salad

My thoughts on octopus

If you never tried octopus, you should try it with this recipe which is very easy to make. This is an appetizer or as they call it in Greek a meze. This meze could eaten with bread or pita and you could enjoy a red wine or an Ouzo or even moonshine Raki. Try to get a hold of some very spicy garlic. You can buy fresh octopus from a fish monger or frozen octopus at most grocery stores. Cooking octopus this way will make it very tender and its very nutritious.

1 large octopus about 1lb-1.5lb.
2 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup red wine vinegar divided
1 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp capers
10 Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
Pinch dried chill flakes

If octopus is fresh go outside and slap on a stone or on the pavement to tenderize before cooking. If frozen thaw in a colander and put in a clean sink, wash octopus with lots of cold running water and table salt. Allow octopus to drain for about one hour after washing.
In a large pony add a drizzle of olive oil, bay leaf, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup cold water. Put octopus in pot and bring to a boil, as soon as you see it boil, turn the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover pot and alow to cook for 2 hours. To check octopus tenderness poke it with the tines of a fork in the thickest part and fork pierces easily then it’s ready. Drain cooked octopus and allow to cool. Now make the dressing; In a preferably medium size glass container mix all the rest of ingredients together. Cut octopus into 1/2″ pieces and drop into dressing. Allow flavours to meld together and then serve or refrigerate for up to one week.

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Gigantes Plaki (baked Greek giant beans)

This dish is usually eaten as an appetizer, with crusty bread, I do recommend a red wine with a lot of body and soft tannins

Ingredients

400g dried Gigantes beans or large Lima beans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
1 french shallot, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup passata tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Greek dried oregano

When beans are cooked add
1 tsp fresh dill weed
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
1 tsp sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Feta cheese (optional)

Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. Drain, rinse, then place in a pan covered with 2″ of water. Bring to the boil, boil vigorously for 5 minutes, drain water and fill pot with new cold water and bring to a boil again, reduce the heat, then simmer for approx 50 mins until slightly tender but not soft. Drain, then set aside.
Heat oven to 350. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, tip in the shallots and garlic, then cook over a medium heat for 2 mins, add the passata and cook for a further min, add remaining ingredients, then simmer for 2-3 mins. Stir in the beans. Tip beans into a large ovenproof dish, then bake for approximately 30 minutes uncovered until the beans are fork tender. The beans sauce will thicken. Check beans for tenderness and take out of oven, then scatter with parsley, dill, salt and pepper and drizzle with a couple more glugs of olive oil to serve.

Serve with Feta cheese, more parsley and really good extra virgin olive oil, with crusty bread as an appetizer or side dish.

Please note: there are certain beans that do not need soaking, read directions on package.

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Gigantes Plaki (baked Greek giant beans)

This dish is usually eaten as an appetizer, with crusty bread, I do recommend a red wine with a lot of body and soft tannins.

Ingredients

400g dried Gigantes beans or large Lima beans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
1 french shallot, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup passata tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Greek dried oregano

When beans are cooked add
1 tsp fresh dill weed
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
1 tsp sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Feta cheese (optional)

Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water unless the beans package does not recommend it. Drain, rinse, then place in a pan covered with 2″ of water. Bring to the boil, boil vigorously for 5 minutes, drain water and fill pot with new cold water and bring to a boil again, reduce the heat, then simmer for approx 50 mins until slightly tender but not soft. Drain, then set aside.
Heat oven to 350. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, tip in the shallots and garlic, then cook over a medium heat for 2 mins, add the passata and cook for a further min, add remaining ingredients, then simmer for 2-3 mins. Stir in the beans. Tip beans into a large ovenproof dish, then bake for approximately 30 minutes uncovered until the beans are fork tender. The beans sauce will thicken, if sauce is too thick loosen with some water. Check beans for tenderness and take out of oven, then scatter with parsley, dill, salt and pepper and drizzle with a couple more glugs of olive oil to serve.

Serve with Feta cheese, more parsley and really good extra virgin olive oil, with crusty bread as an appetizer or side dish.

Please note: there are certain beans that do not need soaking, read directions on package.

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