Makes about 25 to 30
3.5 to 4 lbs. octopus (I used about 7 smaller octopus), cleaned
3 scallions, 1 scallion left whole and 2 finely chopped
2 sprigs tarragon
Small bunch parsley, 2 sprigs left whole, the rest finely chopped
10 to 12 whole black peppercorns
1 loaf of stale bread, crusts removed
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
2 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Bread crumbs as needed
1 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
Olive oil for frying
Place the cleaned octopus in a stock pot, cover with water, add the tarragon, 1 scallion, a couple sprigs of parsley and the peppercorns. If using smaller octopus they should turn out much more tender than a larger octopus, however, add a cork to the stockpot as well for good measure. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove octopus from the pot and cool slightly.
Coarsely chop the octopus and place in a food processor. Pulse until the octopus is finely chopped. Remove the octopus to a large bowl. Cut the stale bread into large chunks, moisten with some water and squeeze with your hands to remove any excess liquid. Add it to the octopus along with the onions, garlic, remaining parsley, scallions, oregano and eggs. Mix well. Add some breadcrumbs until the mixture becomes firm enough to later be rolled into balls. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to four.
Heat about an inch of olive oil in a dutch oven until quite hot. Shape the octopus mixture into bite-size balls and roll lightly in the flour. Fry the octopus croquettes a few at a time, turning once, until evenly browned (a few minutes is all they need). Serve warm with wedges of lemon.
Taramosalata (Carp Roe Dip)
2 large potatoes, peeled and boiled
1 small onion, halved
3 heaping tablespoons carp roe
Juice of 1 lemon
Combine the potatoes, onion, carp roe and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until pureed. With the motor running, begin adding the olive oil until desired consistency is achieved.
Olive Oil and Parmesan Biscotti
(Adapted from a recipe on Epicurious.com)
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, ground
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
1/3 cup olive oil
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 3/4 cup cheese and a little over half the black pepper in a large bowl. Blend in oil and butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the eggs, add the milk and continue stirring until a soft dough forms.
Halve the dough and using well-floured hands, form each piece into a log (about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide) and place on un-greased cookie sheets.
Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and the ground pepper. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until the logs are pale golden and firm, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Carefully transfer logs to a cutting board and with a serrated knife cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on baking sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to one week.