Braised Octopus (Polpi)

Life is kind of getting away from me at the moment. There’s The Magazine. The Book. The Children. Resposibility (such a big word). And then there’s this blog, which I love dearly. At the moment the pressure to post is immense. To say the least. (When was the last time I actually wrote something on here? 15 April. Really? Sorry about that – one day I’ll go back to posting three or four times a week, which is just about what I can manage in a normal world.)

It’s a funny thing, blogging. (It’s a whole new world that I didn’t even know about up until a year ago. It’s very real. And it can be kinda scary.) I don’t know if it’s just me, but I mostly feel like I have to have just the right words to go with great images. So often I’ll cook something, but only manage to photograph the first few stages. Or I’ll be short of time and take a few snaps on the iPhone – and not the 50mm. (not good enough. Or is it?) Even worse, I won’t photograph the stages, but only the final product. And I end up not posting at all because it’s not perfect. Does it really matter?

So, whilst I lament the perfect post, here’s a very delicious recipe for octopus or polpi given to me by the fabulous Paul of Southern Cross Seafood Deli – and shot on my iphone. Instagram, to be exact (and there’s another food bloggers can of worms, right there).

The octopus actually has a story too. It was for a décor shoot, and I had it propped atop a gorgeous golden vase, which, incidentally, shattered into a million little pieces on it’s return trip to Johannesburg – another stress; and another story altogether. Anyway, so after the shoot I simply HAD to cook it. (I’ve never cooked octopus. It requires long, slow cooking).

So here’s the recipe – and two images of the cooking phase, minus a photograph of the final, finished dish. Which would have been chopped, braised octopus in a beautiful earthenware dish, had I the time and the patience.

No, it’s not the perfect post. But it’s a post.

Braised Octopus (Polpi)

2 fresh octopus (1-2kg each)
6 fresh tomatoes, pitted and quartered
1t ground chilli
2 handfuls chopped flat leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon
1 celery head, chopped
12 anchovies, chopped
125ml olive oil

  1. Place all the ingredients into a moderate sized pot. Bring to the bubble.
  2. Add whole octopus (if you have a good fishmonger, like Paul, ask him to remove the beak and clean it for you).
  3. Simmer for about ½ an hour.
  4. Remove octopus and cut each one into 4 quarters
  5. Return octopus to pot, making sure the pieces are covered by the sauce.
  6. Simmer for a further 30 minutes.
  7. Remove octopus from the pot once again, cut away any large suckers and remove the skin (it slips off very easily).
  8. Cut the octopus into bite-sized pieces including the head and simmer for another 30 minutes or until tender – stir periodically.
  9. Serve with bruschetta, chopped parsley and fresh lemon



2 Responses to “Braised Octopus (Polpi)”

  1. Colleen May 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    And on that note (HAHA) I am just popping in to tell you that the Food and Wine Blogger Indaba is happening 24 June – bigger and better….lots of fab workshops to choose from. Booking is brisk! I used to blog every day in the beginning Bern but then I realized that there really is more to life….nowadays I blog when I have the time and if I really feel like it. My aim is, once Indaba is over to try and blog at least once a week! xx

    • bern May 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks Colleen. Coming from you, it makes me feel heaps better about being such a slacker these last few weeks as far as the blog’s concerned. Loved the Indaba last year, so good you mention that booking is brisk! *scuttles off to read the website*

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