Here’s a recipe I picked up in Italy, and decided to bring for the family reunion dinner two nights ago: Octopus simmered in olive oil with carrots and tomatoes, seasoned to taste with marjoram, parsley, salt and pepper.
The recipe I learnt in Italy used a big octopus that filled up the pot. This being Singapore, the only octopus available were frozen small ones, and I defrosted them in brine.
It was fairly well-received at the dinner table, and the left-overs (reunion dinner tradition – you must have so much food that it lasts into the new year) actually tasted even better the next day. I personally thought the taste of ‘western’ herbs made my dish quite incompatible with the rest of the Chinese dishes with its garlic, coriander and soya sauce seasoning etc. Some enjoyed the contrast, I guess.
I was really pleased when my cousin packed some home to serve over cooked pasta (now, why didn’t I think of that?). I didn’t eat much of my own dish though – it was so smelly and slimy and tentacley when I was dealing with the raw thing that it made my hair stand and lose my appetite. I’ll need to practice a simpler but better dish for next year!