Better than it looks! Our friend Aristoteles caught three octopi this summer in Sithonia, Halkidiki, Greece so I made Telly’s octopus stifado! A bowl of that stew and some crusty bread can bring heaven to your mouth.
1. Acquire a friend named Aristoteles with a harpoon gun and take him to a northern Aegean beach with turquoise water and some rocky formations where octopi like to hide.
2. Ask Aristoteles to pull out the ink sack and the “tooth.” He must throw the octopus against the rocks 40 times and then rub it against the rocks to tenderize this sea creature. He will already know these steps or his name isn’t Aristoteles!
3. Place in a pot with 1/3 cup wine vinegar and a dash of red wine. Cook about 15-20 minutes and remove from pot. There’s a lot of water still in an octopus, so you don’t need much liquid for the initial boiling.
4. In the octopus liquor, add about 1/2 cup olive oil, about 2 pounds of small, peeled onions, and 3-4 cloves of garlic, 1 bay leaf, and 1 small can of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, and a dash of cinnamon. Add another 1/2 cup red wine and about 3-4 cups water.
5. In the meantime, cut up the cooled octopi into 1-2 inch pieces.
6. When the onions are tender, return the octopi pieces to the pot, add another 1/2 cup red wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer altogether for another 15 minutes. Good God, y’all!
Click on each photo to enlarge and see more detail.