If one day I am ever confronted with any sort of apocalyptic scenario and need to pick a small gang to bring to an island, D2 would be definitely on my list. Aside from being one of my best friends, the choice would also have critical survival implications since he’s much taller than the viking and I.
50% British, 50% Swedish, he can be 100% annoying when it comes to editing a text. When we came very close to serious fights the dispute was mostly related to dictionary and semantic. There is only one adjective we never fought on: the word stark. It has now become the trait d’union of all the years spent working together. We are not colleagues anymore, but it still feels we are part of the same team, or more accurately, the same family.
Recently he traveled to New York for three weeks to save the world from annihilation à la James Bond. He, and a number of activists, bravely fought the international nuclear Spectre and actually won. I thought that cooking octopus for his welcome back dinner would have been most appropriate.
It took us two bottles of cold Puilly Fumé and Pecorino white to hear all the stories and anecdotes of the process. I thought I would have had a severe case of FOMO, instead I realized, I just had a case of FOMD.
Polpo alla Luciana (Luciana’s octopus)
for 3-4 people
700 gr of octopus
500 gr datterini tomatoes
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 green chili
12 Kalamata olives
salt & pepper
Olive oil EVO
Linguine pasta (optional)
Ricotta salata (optional)
1 Cover the bottom of a heavy iron pot with half a cm of olive oil. Put the octopus head down in the pot. Chop the garlic, onion, tomatoes and put over the octopus. Add the olives and the whole chili. Season with salt and pepper.
2 Cover the pot with some parchment paper (or baking paper) and use a cooking string to tight the paper to the pot. It needs to look like a paper lid, no steam has to come out. Put also the actual lid on the paper and cook on a medium fire for 1 hour (if the octopus is smaller needs to cook less but no less than 40 minutes).
3 After one hour remove the paper and check the sauce. It needs now to reduce until it becomes thick. Add fresh parsley and some lemon zest.
4 You can decide to eat it like this with bread or make some linguine and add the chopped octopus to the sauce. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than what the instructions recommend, drain and put it in the pot with the sauce over a medium fire for a couple of minutes. Add a bit of ricotta salata on top, some more parsley, pepper and lemon zest.