So, it's mid-January. Europe and the east coast of America are under metres of snow, and here I am in Thassos Town, looking across the harbor with my very good friends, eating the most glorious char-grilled octopus which literally until four hours ago was minding its own business and swimming around the rocks and stones in front of my apartment here in Thassos Town.
During the summer, my husband and I had often wondered why the snorkeler that we could always see had only one arm. I now realised that the other arm was underwater holding his spear, and he only really ever goes in and among the rocks and stone up to about 10 or 15 metres offshore. Now I understand why! For early this morning, at half-past eight, there was a ring on my doorbell, and my neighbour presented me with a small plastic bucket (why is it always a bucket which at some time has held paint or something equally inappropriate) containing my strangest present yet...
Now, since my frequent visits to Thassos, I have had some rather strange presents, a saucepan full of fish soup for example, for my birthday, then some warm eggs still with the chicken poop on them. This was apparently a freshly tenderised and huge almost two kilo octopus. All eight legs were intact, I counted them!!! Now I have eaten octopus many times but never have I actually had an opportunity to cook it myself. So everybody offered advice, and finally I decided that I would do what I thought was sensible, which my husband's fishermen friends often say, if in doubt, boil everything for 20 minutes!!! Drain, season, sprinkle with olive oil and lemon juice, cook over a hot grill, then serve with a little bit more olive oil and vinegar, a little bit of salt and pepper, and plenty of Tsipouro.
Glorious, gorgeous, my best early-morning present ever, to be repeated many times in the future I trust.
By: Helen of Troy