Tuesday 13 April 2021

Octopus carpaccio

• 10 minutes to prepare • 1 hour to cook  • Serves 4

Octopus love

Italian-style octopus carpaccio involves thin slices of cooked octopus with a bright citrus vinaigrette dressing that makes for an impressive dish that can be served as an appetizer or a light main.

It is easier than you think to make this rather professional looking dish – all you need is an empty plastic bottle!

Follow the steps to the key and you will be able to get wonderfully thin slices of cooked octopus, just like the experts.

If you have a ham slicer, make use of it, otherwise a mandolin or a sharp knife will work also.
According to the pros, the thickness of the final slices should be between 1-4 mm, and to achieve this it is important to make sure the octopus is compressed in the bottle as tightly as possible and left to cool in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Enjoy!

Here's what you will need for the 4-serving recipe:

1 kg octopus
1 lemon
1 sprig parsley
white wine vinegar
EVO oil
salt and pepper

  1. Start by cooking the octopus: drop it in boiling, unsalted, water and make it cook for about 1 hour, covering the pan with a lid and lowering the heat to the minimum. Cooking time depends on the size of the octopus, so consider this time as indicative. The best way to see if the octopus is ready is to skewer it with a fork, in the point where its tentacles are connected to the head: if the fork enters it easily, the octopus is al dente
  2. When the octopus is cooked, turn off the heat and let it cool in its cooking water
  3. Drain the octopus, and cut into 4-5 roughly even pieces
  4. Grab an empty plastic bottle, cut it in half leaving both the base and about 20cm of the bottle height intact. Using the tip of a sharp knife, punch 5-6 small holes in the base which will serve to drain excess liquid
  5. Place one octopus piece in the base of the bottle, and continue layering the pieces one after the other so that they are nice and snug
  6. With a flat object, like a lid of a jar or a hamburger press, push down to tightly compress the octopus pieces and to remove excess liquid
  7. Cut down the sides of the bottle so that it is in line with the height of the contents. Wrap the entire thing tightly with plastic and store in the fridge for at least 24 hours
  8. When ready to serve, unwrap and cut open the plastic. The octopus should have become one tight block so that you can cut thin slices out of it as if you were slicing ham. Arrange them fanned out on a large platter
  9. Meanwhile, wash celery under running water and cut it into rounds
  10. Prepare the citronette: collect the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of EVO oil in a small bowl. Season with a pinch of salt, chopped parsley, a teaspoon of vinegar and freshly ground pepper and stir to mix
  11. Pour the citronette and toss gently to mix and coat well. Add salt and grind some more pepper, if necessary

Nutrition Facts are listed for this recipe in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

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