That Time I Cooked Octopus For Dinner

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I think I took this exact picture multiple times every single day during our stay, but I swear each time something new revealed itself. The morning I took this one I was grateful for the beautiful sunshine after spending the night trembling under the covers while one of the craziest storms I’ve ever witnessed tore across the sea.
It feels silly to admit, but I’m pretty much terrified of thunder, especially when I have a peacefully sleeping baby downstairs whom I REALLY do not want to wake up.
Every time the lightning cracked I sat waiting anxiously for the thunder trying to determine how far away the storm was. Earlier in the night it was right on top of us sending booms throughout Amalfi. We lost power on and off through the night, causing the emergency lights to flicker on and off. Jill and I wondered through the house making sure windows and doors were secure, and prayed Aubrey would stay asleep. And just when we thought it was finally moving away and had fallen back asleep, it came around for a second time.
I don’t know how it was possible, but Aubrey slept through it all.
To wash away the night’s terrors, we poured some prosecco and peach juice and happened upon a gate we hadn’t noticed before that opened to a little rooftop of the villa.
The villa was expansive, and we were determined to enjoy every square inch of it. Each day we spent at least a few minutes making use of a new area. This day it was the garden.
Most mornings Jill and Aubrey made their rounds through the garden collecting a few tomatoes (mostly for Jill’s new favorite breakfast of halved cherry tomatoes, lots of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt), peppers, basil, and whatever else struck their fancy.
In addition to the garden there were a number of fruit trees around the property. Out of curiosity Will collected some cactus fruit for a taste testing.
Our brave little tester.
After a bottle of course.
Going for it…
not so sure.
Here Missy, you try it.
Maybe a tomato would be better.
While Aubrey ate tomatoes like apples, we soaked up as much of the sun as we could before the clouds started rolling back in.
Where the storm meets the sun.
Luckily it only rained for a little bit and we were able to get back out to the pool for the afternoon.
When we started to get pruney we threw on some clothes and made the walk down the hill to the market. I had spotted frozen octopus on our first visit and couldn’t wait to try my hand at cooking it.
In truth, I had no idea what I was doing. Will pulled up a couple of youtube videos on preparing octopus and I just went with it. I had a moment of insecurity though. A man had come by to try to fix the hot water problem and stopped in the kitchen just as I was using a meat pounder to release the tension on the tentacles. He started speaking something in Italian, but the only thing I got was the word “polpo” which means octopus. I wondered if he was watching me wondering just what the heck I was doing.
Eyes and beaks removed, tentacles pounded out, and the rest of the ingredients ready to go, dinner was officially started.
Octopus is very tough, so it requires boiling or stewing for quite some time before it’s ready to eat. This worked out perfectly for a lazy afternoon in enjoying each other’s company.
A few hours later my creation was ready. Stewed octopus, and olives (with a few other things) over bucatini, my most favorite pasta.
To me it was delicious and exactly what I had in mind. I won’t say it’s the best dish I’ve ever had, but I was pleased with how it turned out, and the experience was one of a kind. Even a skeptical Missy found she liked octopus after all.

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