Chickpea Puree with Octopus
This is a delicious dish I had once at Drogeria Franci in Montalcino, in early spring, when you feel you should have freshness but still crave warmth. I used to be quite worried about cooking octopus – it was one of those creatures that looked complicated. But wanting to recreate this dish made me try it, and I was wrong: it’s very easy to cook. And very tasty. And you can impress your guests with this delicious first course, without stressing too much. But do call it in the Italian way, Puree di Ceci con Polpo, it sounds much nicer!
With Octopus ask your fishmonger if it’s ready to cook, otherwise you should freeze it for 2 days to make it softer (or beat it and hang it if you are in Greece). I used tinned chickpeas, but you could get dried and soak overnight and cook them until soft and ready.
For 4 people:
½ Kg Octopus
1 small onion, quartered
1 stick of celery
400 Gr jarred or tinned chickpeas
1 clove of garlic
1 Tbs chopped parsley
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Which EVOO to use?
De Carlo, Tenuta Torre di Mossa DOP Bari – Bitonto for it’s structure and complex wild herb aromas (monocultivar Coratina) that bring the octopus in to its own as well as enhancing the ceci.
Franci, Olivastra Seggianese coming from high altitude on the slopes of Mt. Amiata. Aromas of rose and cut grass with delicate spice really compliment the earthy characteristics of this dish.
In a big pan cover the Octopus completely with water, and put the carrot, the celery and the onion in the water. Boil for 15 minutes, then take off the heat and wait until the water is cooled down (probably about 30 minutes).
In another pan pour a generous amount of olive oil, heat gently with the clove of garlic. When it’s changed colour, discard the garlic, and add the chickpeas to the pan. Once the chickpeas are cooked, take off the heat, and puree. Dilute with the water from the octopus, until you have creamy consistency.
Take the octopus out of it water, cut in 4 equal portions, making sure there is a big tentacle for all. Plate over the soup, add the parsley, salt pepper, and a sprinkle of olive oil and serve.
You can make the octopus in advance and warm it under a grill before serving.