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 (4870)

  1. izDgQd7drt posted 08/24/2013

    The Silent Shard…

    This may likely be fairly valuable for many of your jobs I decide to do not only with my web site but…

  2. best web design posted 08/25/2013

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

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

  3. Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival posted 08/25/2013

    Cool sites…

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

  4. Its hard to find good help…

    I am regularly proclaiming that its hard to find quality help, but here is…

  5. gaming desktop posted 08/25/2013

    Looking around…

    While I was browsing yesterday I saw a great article concerning…

  6. hair extensions posted 08/25/2013

    Yahoo results…

    While searching youtube I discovered this site in the results and I didn’t think it fit…

  7. xplocial posted 08/25/2013

    Digg this…

    While checking out DIGG yesterday I found this…

  8. jordan shoes for sale posted 08/25/2013

    reviews…

    usually posts some really interesting stuff like this. If you?re new to this site doblealturadeco.com/tapas/jordanflight45.com.html…

  9. Vibrators And Much More posted 08/25/2013

    Wikia…

    Wika linked to this site…

  10. Southern Illinois Girl Scots posted 08/25/2013

    Sites we Like……

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

  11. self help posted 08/25/2013

    Awesome website…

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

  12. Kent Rune Henriksen posted 08/25/2013

    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 [...]……

  13. link wheel posted 08/25/2013

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worthed[...]……

  14. halal caterer link is here posted 08/25/2013

    halal caterer link is here…

    [...]usually posts some pretty intriguing stuff like this. If you are new to this site[...]…

  15. interior designers singapore posted 08/26/2013

    Title…

    [...]The information and facts talked about inside the report are a number of the top offered [...]…

  16. LA Texas Exes posted 08/26/2013

    Gems form the internet…

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

  17. Greensburg Green Town posted 08/26/2013

    Websites you should visit…

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

  18. Make Money With Kindle posted 08/26/2013

    Its hard to find good help…

    I am forever proclaiming that its hard to find good help, but here is…

  19. cellulite on thighs posted 08/26/2013

    cellulite on thighs…

    [...]below you?ll come across the link to some websites that we think you’ll want to visit[...]…

  20. Benefits And Pay posted 08/26/2013

    Benefits And Pay…

    [...]we came across a cool website that you simply might enjoy. Take a appear in the event you want[...]…

  21. porn posted 08/26/2013

    porn…

    [...]below you?ll find the link to some web-sites that we consider you ought to visit[...]…

  22. Placer Arts posted 08/26/2013

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

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

  23. halal catering singapore posted 08/26/2013

    Title…

    [...]very handful of internet sites that happen to become in depth below, from our point of view are undoubtedly properly worth checking out[...]…

  24. Reseller Hosting Reviews posted 08/26/2013

    Sites we Like……

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

  25. Vintage 57 Fullerton posted 08/26/2013

    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[...]……

  26. TAAO posted 08/26/2013

    Informative and precise…

    Its hard to find informative and precise info but here I noted…

  27. Free to Breathe posted 08/26/2013

    Links…

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

  28. Minneapolis Bike Coalition posted 08/27/2013

    Awesome website…

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

  29. constructued textformate…

    rigid abroncsoknak frankfurt loadmodule temen armys archivbasis….

  30. MI40X review posted 08/27/2013

    Informative and precise…

    Its hard to find informative and accurate information but here I noted…

  31. buy soundcloud comments posted 08/27/2013

    video…

    If make more circle, business information can spread rapidly….

  32. VigRX posted 08/27/2013

    Visitor recommendations…

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

  33. what is best hosting posted 08/27/2013

    Title…

    [...]Every once in a while we decide on blogs that we study. Listed beneath would be the latest web sites that we select [...]…

  34. Tweets posted 08/27/2013

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

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

  35. instagram followers posted 08/27/2013

    instagram followers…

    [...]Here is a superb Weblog You might Locate Interesting that we Encourage You[...]…

  36. cmp-indonesia.com posted 08/27/2013

    Title…

    [...]below you will obtain the link to some internet sites that we feel you should visit[...]…

  37. Awesome website…

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

  38. real estate investing for maximum cash flow…

    [...]we prefer to honor lots of other online web pages around the internet, even though they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages really worth checking out[...]…

  39. texas exes posted 08/28/2013

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

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

  40. how to fix your credit posted 08/28/2013

    how to fix your credit…

    [...]just beneath, are various completely not associated websites to ours, even so, they’re surely worth going over[...]…

  41. verrugas genitales posted 08/28/2013

    verrugas genitales…

    [...]please check out the websites we follow, like this one, as it represents our picks in the web[...]…

  42. work from home posted 08/28/2013

    Title…

    [...]that is the end of this post. Right here you will come across some web pages that we believe you’ll value, just click the hyperlinks over[...]…

  43. Title…

    [...]although web sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not associated to ours, we really feel they are essentially really worth a go by, so possess a look[...]…

  44. Singapore Food Blogger posted 08/28/2013

    Title…

    [...]although internet websites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they’re actually worth a go as a result of, so have a look[...]…

  45. Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here yesterday, so I just took to messing around online and found…

  46. buy instagram followers posted 08/28/2013

    buy instagram followers…

    [...]very handful of websites that transpire to become comprehensive beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly well really worth checking out[...]…

  47. Are AskNow Psychics Real posted 08/28/2013

    Title…

    [...]one of our guests just lately recommended the following website[...]…

  48. anybuying posted 08/29/2013

    Title…

    [...]just beneath, are numerous absolutely not connected web sites to ours, however, they’re certainly really worth going over[...]…

  49. biura nieruchomosci gorzow posted 08/29/2013

    Title…

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

  50. total rewards posted 08/29/2013

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c