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Cook Octopus the Way They Do It in Sicily

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Adjust Servings:
800 g of Octopus raw
1/2 Lemon Lemon bio with untreated skin
100 ml of Red wine
to taste Salt
stalks Parsley leaves
1 Bay leaf

Cook Octopus the Way They Do It in Sicily

  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • 40 min
  • Serves 4
  • Easy




How to boil octopus, of course, you can find out online or ask ChatGPT. But when you do it with a Sicilian chef, it’s a different story. It turns out that there are many more nuances, but the result is simply magnificent, incomparable to the standard boiling method.

I used to cook octopus in a pressure cooker because I was afraid that if I cooked it in a pot, the octopus would spread fishy odors throughout the house. It turned out fine, but the delicate skin would come off, ruining the look and texture of the beautiful octopus. So I’ll put it this way: You can cook in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes, but the result will be average. After Sicily, I won’t do it again.


With Chef Loredana, we cooked the octopus over low heat with lemon, red wine and parsley sprigs, ensuring that the delicate skin didn’t lose its gorgeous dark red color or get damaged. The flavor was delicate and not at all fishy. You can see in the photo how beautiful the cooked octopus turned out. As for its flavor and texture, it was simply magnificent!

Sharing my Sicilian experience!

Bon Appétit!

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To prepare the octopus, defrost it in the fridge and rinse it under running water. Usually, octopus is sold already cleaned of its insides. If the octopus is not cleaned, remove the insides from its head. It's recommended to watch a video on how to do this.


Fill a pot with water, ensuring the octopus is fully submerged when placed inside. Heat the water until it reaches boiling point and add salt. Once the water is boiling vigorously, grab the octopus by its head and submerge its tentacles into the boiling water. Count to 5, remove it from the water, count to 5 again and repeat this process three times. Finally, fully immerse the octopus in the water and bring it back to a boil.


When the water starts boiling, remove any foam that may have formed. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the water and add the lemon itself (make sure it is bio with untreated skin, otherwise do not add it). Pour in red wine (in Sicily, this is how they enhance and preserve the dark color of the octopus skin) and add parsley stalks and a bay leaf. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. It is essential not to cover it with a lid, otherwise the octopus skin will peel off. To check if the octopus is cooked, insert a knife into a dense part of the tentacle. It should go through smoothly without any resistance.


When the octopus is done, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool in the same water it was boiled in. Once both the water and octopus have cooled down, delicately take out the octopus using a fork or tongs. You can slice it right away and use it in a salad or chill it in a covered container in the fridge, where you can store it for up to three days for later use.
When slicing the octopus, avoid touching it with your hands to prevent the skin from coming off. Instead, hold it with a fork and slice it with a knife.
Our perfect Sicilian octopus is done! Bon Appétit!

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