Today I am sharing with you a special recipe. It is a Sicilian octopus stew with potatoes that my parents learnt from an old lady in the little village of San Vito Lo Capo. My dad started his teaching career at the local school when he was very young and he used to rent a room at this lady’s house. She used to run a little “guest house” and my dad and a couple of other people were staying (and having dinner) there. Her husband was a fisherman and they would often eat the fish he caught that day. Their cuisine was very simple, nothing fancy, but as the ingredients were extremely fresh, it was also delicious. One of my dad’s favourite dishes was this octopus stew. They call it “Polipo Accupatello” where polipo (or polpo) means “octopus” and accupatello is Sicilian for “closed/covered”… it basically tells you that you need to cover the pot when you cook the octopus, as it cooks in its own steam. I made this with my mother during our holiday in Sicily last May, so excuse my photos… as I did not have much equipment with me, but the recipe is as original as it gets! This is a very simple recipe and if you like octopus, you will LOVE it. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have a feeling the same method/ingredients will also work well for calamari (though you may have to adjust the cooking time). Buon appetito!
Polipo Accupatello - a Sicilian octopus and potato stew, the way the local fishermen do it!
- 700 gms – 1.5 lb. small/medium octopus cleaned and cut in bite size pieces
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 5 cherry tomatoes quartered
- 2 garlic cloves halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pinch chilly flakes
- 80 ml – 1/3 ml white wine
- Salt to taste
- 4 medium potatoes cut in 5 cm – 2 inch cubes
- 1 tbsp parlsely chopped (optional)
In a large pot, put the extra virgin olive oil, the cut octopus, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, chilly flakes, white wine and a pinch of salt (don’t add too much at this stage, octopus can be salty already and you can adjust the seasoning at the end). Put the pot on the fire and cook it on a low flame, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the octopus is tender.
Add the potatoes and keep cooking, covered, until the potatoes are tender. You may have to add a little water at this stage, just do so little at a time. You want to have a stew at the end, but not a soup.
When ready, add the chopped parsley (optional), adjust the seasoning, stir and serve warm.
Cooking times may vary depending on your octopus. Make sure you cook it until tender.