How to make a fishy smell hater eat an Octopus!
Updated: Jun 7
A simple answer... You have to cook it right and you have to serve it in a logical context!
That means that while you are sitting at the stern of the boat waiting for lunch, sipping your rose (because it is vacation time and you are allowed to have your mommy juice at noon) and waiting for your husband to finish the octopus salad, You are in a good mood for experimenting.
Read this to him the day before...
a) Octopus itself:
You can buy it in a supermarket, no need to find a fresh one. They love to be frozen, that is how they become tenderer. If you find a small butcher shop called ‘Pivac’, you can be almost sure to find it there. If you are in Vis, look for my friend Stipe at ‘Kalambera’ fish market.
Size? The bigger the better. You will eat it all!
Unfreeze it. Just leave it somewhere in the original bag that it came in. Take a big pot and fill it with water. Put some wine vinegar in the pot also. Like this much. I mean like a quantity of 2 normal sips of beer from a bottle. It will de-smellify the whole operation a little bit and it will help to coagulate the skin in the early phase of cooking, so the bubbles from the water don’t damage the skin later. I saw people putting a cork in the water, but I don’t get it (something about minerals in the water that the cork absorbs)... Once it starts boiling put the stove on minimum to avoid bubbles. Cook it for... It depends on the size but you can’t go wrong here, for... 30, 40 minutes. If the fork is entering easily in the thick part, then it is done. Then turn the stove off and leave it there for 3 to 5 hours in the cooking water, so it cools with the water slowly. Now change the water with some cold water. The idea is to preserve the suction cups attached to the tentacles.
Cut all 8 tentacles as closer to the head as possible. Start with the head. The eatable part is the outside layer of the head. Cut the head in half and get rid of all that is inside, all the brown stuff, and wash with water what is left. Throw the intestines in the sea so your garbage doesn't smell later (and you’ll make some fish happy). You can also try to save small bits of tentacles that are attached to the head. Cut the head now in cubes the size of a baby’s pinky toe. Cut the tentacles between the suction cups. You will get a circle with 2 suction cups attached. Good!
d) The rest of the salad:
You need capers, Croatian ones. From vinegar, not salt. Not too many. Make tiny cubes from some cherry tomatoes, parsley, 1 small onion. Onion cubes must be really miniature. Garlic. A lot. Also cut it really small.
No matter what the pro chef says, you want a potato! Just one big potato. Or 2 medium ones, or...you get the idea. We love carbs and by punting just a little bit we will trick our brain in thinking that there are a lot of carbs. Plus the potato will suck all the juices so they don't just go to the bottom of the bowl. You need a bowl. Or better a pot where you mix everything and then you can put it in a nice glass bowl you will find on our boat. Cook the potato and dice it to miniature cubes. Don't overcook it to avoid getting mashed potatoes.
Mix with your hands all together except the potatoes.
Add wine vinegar and lots of high-quality olive oil. If you are not an expert on olive oil do not buy it from local open market old ladies! It is usually pure garbage! Go to a shop and look for Istrian oil. (Tip: You can’t go wrong with anything from a Croatian region of Istria). Or use some other Croatian olive oil, but you are looking for around 80kn/liter. Don’t go crazy, no need. Salt, pepper. And now add the potatoes. Carefully mix again with your hands trying not to smash them.
And that is it!!! Please take a picture and send it to me!
If you have questions I am firstname.lastname@example.org