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Here’s a wonderful summer recipe full of the flavours of the sea, l’insalata di polpo e patate (octopus and potato salad).
This classic Italian dish is quite simple and very tasty, but beware: there are some gruesome acts to be committed. I can’t wait to see Geoff’s expression when he reads it!
Allora, siete pronti?
1 kg of octopus
1 kg of waxy potatoes
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of parsley
4 spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper.
Start by boiling the potatoes whole in their skins until well cooked.
In the meantime prepare the octopus: turn it upside-down and eliminate the entrails contained in the ‘head’. With a sharp small knife remove the beak and the eyes, then perfectly wash the octopus under running water.
If you are using fresh octopus instead of frozen, it’s recommended to hit it repeatedly with a wooden mallet per frollare le carni (to tenderize its flesh).
Fill up a big saucepan with water, add the bay leaves and bring it to the boil. When the water begins to boil pick up the polpo by its head and dip its legs into the boiling water for a few moments, then lift it up. Repeat this operation two or three times until i tentacoli (the tentacles) look wrinkled. At this point immerse the whole octopus into the water, cover the pan, bring it back to the boil and leave it to cook for 40 to 50 minutes.
In the meantime drain the potatoes, peel them and chopped them into cubes. Set them aside somewhere where they’ll stay warm.
Check that the polpo is properly cooked by lifting it up with cooking pincers, and inserting a fork into the tentacles. The fork should enter without any resistance. Drain it and leave it to cool down for about 10 minutes. Then chop the head and tentacles into cubes.
Prepare the dressing by blending the oil and lemon juice together. Wash the parsley and chop very thinly. Put the potatoes and the octopus in a big salad bowl, add the salt, freshly ground pepper, and chopped parsley. Pour the lemon and olive oil mix over your insalata di polpo e patate, and mix gently. If you want to spice up the dressing a bit you can mix in some finely chopped garlic and olives.
This dish is really good when served tepid or cold.
Geoff’s thoughts: “Mi ha fatto proprio schifo leggere la descrizione di come si prepara questa ricetta. Non la farai mai a casa nostra, amore mio!