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The Real Greek at Home
by Theodore Kyriakou & Charles Campion
The key to cooking octopus is to understand its texture. Octopuses are mainly composed of water. In Greece they can be hung out to dry in the sun, but cooks elsewhere must find a way to drive off the water and concentrate the taste.
serves 4


• 1 x 1 kg (2¼ lb) whole octopus
• 2 garlic cloves
• 125ml (4fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp aged Corinthian red wine vinegar
• 1 bunch thyme, leaves only

Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot on the heat and let it get very hot. Put the octopus into it and pop the lid on. Turn the heat down to the minimum and cook for 40-50 minutes, until the octopus is tender (test by cutting the thickest part of the leg).

2. Remove the octopus and let it cool down. In the meantime reduce the pot juices to approximately 100ml (3½ fl oz). Keep an eye on things because the liquid will be quite sticky and it will burn very quickly.

3. Put the garlic into a liquidizer and blitz, then start adding the oil a little at a time. Finally add the vinegar and the reduced juices. You should end up with a well-mixed dressing.

4. Cut off the legs of the octopus and leave them whole. Remove the beak with a paring knife and cut the head into quarters.

5. Place the octopus pieces in a large mixing bowl, pour the dressing on the top, sprinkle with the thyme leaves, and mix well. It is best to leave this dish covered in the refrigerator for a day before eating, so that the flavours deepen.

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