Watch Cooking Channel

Octopus Is Not Quite Kosher

Gabriele Corcos cooking octopus.

I am an unlikely person to share with you a delicious recipe for cooking octopus. You see—in case you missed an important detail about my culinary upbringing—I grew up in a Kosher home!

My father is Jewish, and needless to say, his personality truly reflects his heritage and upbringing. A surgeon, my father Leonardo is strong, opinionated, heavy at times, and always Kosher. For me, as a kid growing up in Tuscany of all places, keeping kosher was kind of a problem: “What, no Prosciutto Sandwich allowed? Ever?

Each year growing up, my brother and I endured two complete calendars of religious festivities and rituals, one for my Catholic mother and her family, and one Jewish father and his. You see, my parents were slightly progressive in the 70s, and when I was born out of a mixed marriage, neither one of them felt necessary to influence my religious views one way or the other. In their opinion, it was good enough to be expose  me to both cultures, and the choice of faith would be mine.

I have gone to Temple, I have gone to Church, I have spoken to both the Priest and the Rabbi. I have enjoyed incredibly long Yom Kippur dinners and observed a no-pasta, no-bread Passover in respect to my father; I stuffed myself with Tortellini, Mortadella and Shellfish in respect to my mother when my Dad was not around. And I fell in love with pork, in respect to my very self!

Things changed the day I turned 14, when I finally gained my freedom, in the form of a 50cc motorbike. I will remember that day as if it was yesterday! October 1986, my parents unveiled for me a used, all-black, tricked-out, super tight scooter: “Happy birthday, from tomorrow on you are driving yourself to school. Here is your water-resistant gear, in case it rains!”

Gabriele and Patrizio together in the kitchen

Good friends, reunited in the kitchen.

Five minutes later I was on the phone with Patrizio, my very best-friend-in-the-making… we had just started high school together. “Patrizio, I am coming to your place. Let’s cook!” I was finally free to drive myself to a grocery store or a deli, and exercise my free culinary will, for the very first time in my life.

Patrizio’s house became a safe heaven, and his kitchen the place where I would learn and experiment cooking with all the most un-Kosher ingredients I could get my hands on: Pork, Shrimp, Mussels, Meat and Cheese combos… you name it! All of it became fair game. And so, there was nothing more natural than celebrating my bachelor party in Patrizio’s newly renovated kitchen in piazza Santa Croce, and cooking a big plate of Shellfish!

We decided on an early-summer menu of Octopus Salad and a quick Pasta alla Puttanesca.

The pasta recipe is very easy and straight forward. The octopus, however is one of those ingredients I am still working hard to master. But I believe you should never let fear of the unknown keep you from trying to cook new and exciting foods. So let me share with you what I know about cooking with this fantastic creature.

Fresh ingredients for an octopus salad

Fresh ingredients for our salad: potatoes, octopus, lemon and garlic.

A fresh octopus is better than a frozen one, not just in terms of texture of the meat, but also in terms of flavor; a freshly caught octopus still can taste a bit like the ocean even after boiling for over an hour. That ocean flavor disappears with the freezing process. But when I prepare this dish in Los Angeles, I am more than happy to use a frozen one when I find it.

There are a few different ways of cooking octopus, regardless of how you end up serving it. The animal is a tough, rubbery muscle; it needs to be worked very well before ending on your plate. I personally like boiling it in water and herbs at a low flame for a decent amount of time (1-2 hours, depending on the size). But others like to season it with salt and cook it in a covered skillet with minimal water for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Just different schools, the end result is the same.

To achieve a beautiful result, dip the tentacles in and out of the boiling water a few times. This will make them curl up, and the dish will look wonderful when it gets to the serving platter.

As a rule, I never serve big pieces of octopus—I do not like cutting it on my plate, I believe it always should be served in fork-ready bits or slices. As funny as it sounds, I have found that some people, especially when trying octopus for their very first time, are put off by its texture while they cut it. I just like to make it easy to bring to your palate, the flavor always passes the test!

Cooking and cutting the octopus

The octopus comes out beautifully curly, ready to be cut into small pieces.

One last piece of advice: Octopus does not make great leftovers.

My evening was a real success, and it was a true joy to again cook with Patrizio in his house; all my dearest and oldest friends were there, just like it was 20 years ago.

And the conclusion to a perfect evening? A late-night date with Debi in Piazza Santo Spirito, where we met 10 years ago and fell in love. Every time we are in Florence, we go to visit that ancient square to celebrate our family and our incredible journey together.

Gabriele

Debi and Gabriele toasting to ten years.

Debi and I afterward in the piazza where we first met ten years ago.


Watch Gabriele and Debi Mazar cook meals from their home, every Wednesday night at 10:30pm ET/ 9:30pm CT on Cooking Channel.

More Extra Virgin:

More Italian food on Cooking Channel:

Tags:

Comments (5017)

  1. Legal Shield posted 01/11/2013

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

    [...]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]……

  2. Send Out Cards posted 01/11/2013

    Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  3. BankCardUSA Merchant Account posted 01/11/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  4. challenge coins posted 01/11/2013

    Visitor recommendations…

    [...]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[...]……

  5. exploretalent.net sms posted 01/11/2013

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

  6. www.freshrankings.com posted 01/11/2013

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  7. Dog Tags posted 01/11/2013

    You should check this out…

    [...] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well [...]……

  8. Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  9. Security Company London posted 01/11/2013

    Title…

    [...]although websites we backlink to beneath are considerably not associated to ours, we feel they are truly worth a go via, so have a look[...]…

  10. bleaching posted 01/12/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    [...]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]……

  11. Gutschein2013.com posted 01/12/2013

    Title…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to simply because we consider they may be worth visiting[...]…

  12. my link here posted 01/12/2013

    Great website…

    [...]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[...]……

  13. cheap car insurance quote posted 01/12/2013

    Title…

    [...]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated data, nonetheless actually really worth taking a look, whoa did 1 discover about Mid East has got more problerms as well [...]…

  14. Websites we think you should visit…

    [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[...]……

  15. kizlarla konusmak posted 01/12/2013

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

  16. kadinlar neden hoslanir posted 01/12/2013

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  17. hot girl posted 01/12/2013

    Awesome website…

    [...]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[...]……

  18. Norwex review posted 01/12/2013

    Websites you should visit…

    [...]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[...]……

  19. Glaszetter posted 01/13/2013

    Title…

    [...]the time to read or stop by the content or internet sites we’ve linked to below the[...]…

  20. Head Shop Water Bongs posted 01/13/2013

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    [...]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[...]……

  21. Kush Herbal Incense posted 01/13/2013

    Awesome website…

    [...]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[...]……

  22. Street Names Marijuana posted 01/13/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  23. logo designs posted 01/13/2013

    Title…

    [...]very couple of internet websites that transpire to be detailed beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly very well worth checking out[...]…

  24. שף בבית posted 01/13/2013

    Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  25. tablets posted 01/13/2013

    Cool sites…

    [...]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[...]……

  26. onetwotrade.com posted 01/13/2013

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

  27. wedding rings posted 01/13/2013

    Links…

    [...]Sites of interest we have a link to[...]……

  28. learn more here posted 01/13/2013

    Title…

    [...]Here are several of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]…

  29. how to lose weight quickly posted 01/13/2013

    Title…

    [...]Sites of interest we have a link to[...]…

  30. how to get rid of acne scars posted 01/13/2013

    Title…

    [...]usually posts some extremely intriguing stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]…

  31. exercises to lose weight posted 01/13/2013

    Title…

    [...]The details talked about in the write-up are a few of the most effective obtainable [...]…

  32. Title…

    [...]the time to study or pay a visit to the material or web pages we’ve linked to beneath the[...]…

  33. acne scar treatment posted 01/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]just beneath, are several completely not related internet sites to ours, even so, they are certainly really worth going over[...]…

  34. burn belly fat posted 01/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]Sites of interest we have a link to[...]…

  35. You Could Try Here posted 01/14/2013

    Check this out…

    [...] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]……

  36. advance payday loans online posted 01/14/2013

    Austin…

    Hiya, I am really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and web and this is really annoying. A good site with interesting content, that is what I need. Thank you for keeping this web-site, I’ll be visiting it. Do yo…

  37. acne treatment posted 01/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]Here is a good Blog You might Uncover Interesting that we Encourage You[...]…

  38. Dr. Titel kaufen posted 01/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]always a huge fan of linking to bloggers that I love but really don’t get lots of link like from[...]…

  39. Eugenio Eccles posted 01/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]here are some hyperlinks to internet sites that we link to mainly because we think they are really worth visiting[...]…

  40. Unlock Samsung Galaxy posted 01/14/2013

    Websites we think you should visit…

    [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[...]……

  41. supplements for muscle growth posted 01/14/2013

    Title…

    [...]Here is an excellent Blog You might Find Exciting that we Encourage You[...]…

  42. paleo recipe book posted 01/14/2013

    Websites we think you should visit…

    [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[...]……

  43. Tyler Shi posted 01/15/2013

    wonderful penning…

    I’ve learn several nutrition under. Certainly well worth book-marking to possess returning every single child. I actually shock exactly what amount initiatives a person truly put to create this type associated along with great enlightening site….

  44. HERBAL HEAD SHOP ONLINE posted 01/15/2013

    Websites we think you should visit…

    [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[...]……

  45. emotional intelligence posted 01/15/2013

    Blogs ou should be reading…

    [...]Here is a Great Blog You Might Find Interesting that we Encourage You[...]……

  46. Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  47. distilled alcohol posted 01/15/2013

    Pleased With The Blog Post…

    Really enjoyed every bit of this blog. Really looking forward to reading more. Really Cool….

  48. WEED NICKNAMES posted 01/15/2013

    Great website…

    [...]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[...]……

  49. Fashion Design posted 01/15/2013

    Cool sites…

    [...]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[...]……

  50. party decorations posted 01/15/2013

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    [...]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[...]……

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c