Greek summer flavours can be put on a table on just two small plates: a sea creature and fruit from a tree. It will have to be octopus, in vinegar and just a few sharp, cracked green olives.
Head straight to the recipe.
There is little to say about a Greek summer and so much more to enjoy. Diving in the sea, lazing in the sun, hopefully with a good book in company. I spent less and less time in the kitchen. Summer finds me in Athens and chances of me escaping to an island this August are slim. I have changed my routine though, trying to get away from the hob as much as possible.
The dishes I enjoy in this scorching heat involve salads, lazy pickles, refreshing Greek yogurt and an abundance of fresh fruit. Peaches and nectarines are a big time favourite followed by melons and watermelons. Did I say lazy pickles?
Such is the case of Greek octopus. Not a proper pickle, we do cook it but still easier than going for the grilled octopus. I don’t hassle myself with a wood fire, not in my tiny Athenian balcony. I grabbed the octopus straight from the fish mongers, hastily threw it in the pot along with bay leaves, dry white wine and vinegar. You give it a good boil, fish it out of the pot, let it cool off and chop in bite sized pieces.
You can keep it in the fridge along with olive oil and vinegar for as long as you wish. It won’t stay taking up place for that long. In my experience, one huge octopus disappears in less than a week from my table alongside other delectable mezze. Think olives, taramosalata, tzatziki and anything else your heart might desire.
Octopus In vinegar ( xtapodi ksidato)
- 1 large octopus, about a kilo (fresh or frozen)
- 150 ml of olive oil
- 150 ml dry white wine
- 150 ml dry white wine vinegar
- 3-4 bay leaves
- A few juniper berries
- Sea salt
How to make it:
- Place the octopus in a large pot and fill in with water making sure the octopus is fully covered.
- Add in the wine and vinegar, bring to the boil and lower to a simmer after a few minutes.
- How long it will take depends on your octopus, how much it was processing before ending up in the pot. After 25-30 minutes check to see how soft it is.
- When done, strain the pot’s contents, let the octopus come to room temperature and keep the herbs.
- Chop in small, bite sized pieces and dress with a bit of olive oil and vinegar, a bit of salt if needed.
Will you need salt? Perhaps not if you have a fresh octopus from the fish mongers. The beast tends to carry along quite a bit of its natural environment. You might need just a bit of more saltiness if using a frozen octopus.
So, how do you like your octopus? Grilled, boiled or with pasta perhaps?
From Athens with love,