Watch Out Ursula!

Traditionally Italians break out the “seven fishes” tradition for Christmas Eve. Our family follows that somewhat. As the years go by people’s tastes change and we are not eating the same fish as our grandparents! My dad took over the tradition of cooking Christmas Eve a couple of years ago. It is now his event and his “thing.” While my mom, sisters, and I are busy prepping for the main event, Christmas Day, Bucky is dealing with the “fishes.”

What makes this time so much fun is not only the cooking he does, but the annual Arthur Ave trip. He takes all the “men” to Arthur Ave in the Bronx to some real deal places! There they get all the fish, bread, meat, and antipasto fresh! They go early in the morning and have a blast! I love that my husband, Brian, now gets to take part of the tradition. But of course I am insanely jealous all morning long as they instagram photos!

Brian actually loves octopus haha! I know some people are totally freaked out. Katie and Danielle think its 100% gross! I know it looks creepy but if you can get over it, it is good! So I added a Octopus and Potato salad to the rotation for Brian. Turns out my grandmother and Kevin are into it as well! This recipe I adapted from Lidia Bastianich, who is the queen of Italian cooking!

  • 1½ – 2 pounds octopus, cleaned
  • 1 wine cork
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium Idaho potatoes, whole
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Bermuda onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • Lemon wedges for garnish


  1. Place the octopus, wine cork, bay leaves, and salt and pepper in a large pot with water. Cover generously and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook the octopus at a vigorous simmer until tender but slightly al dente, about 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a second pot, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook about 25 minutes, until just tender, then cool, peel, and cut them into 1″ cubes.
  3. Drain the octopus, discarding the bay leaves and cork. Cut the tentacles away where they join the head and, if desired, strip away the skin and suction cups by drawing the tentacles through the bunched fingers of one hand. Clean the octopus head by squeezing out the core with your fingers, and cut the meat into thin slices. Cut the tentacles into 1″ pieces, and toss the octopus pieces with the warm potatoes. Toss in the olive oil, red wine vinegar, onion, and parsley. Place on a plate, garnish with lemon wedges and serve.
  • I love seafood dishes. My family (Portuguese) makes a lot of seafood dishes and octopus is one of my favs! Like you said it doesn’t look appealing, but it is so yummy! Why do you put a cork in the pot? I don’t recall my mom or mother inlaw putting one in except when they cook linguica. It is so it doesn’t foam. Just curious about that cork:)

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