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Boiled octopuss ("folpo") - elba style - with herbs flavoured sauce according to Matteo

("Folpo" - polpo bollito all'elbana, salsetta agli aromi secondo Matteo)

  • 4 rock small octopuses, about 200/250 grams each
  • 4-5 hot chili peppers
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 4 peeled boiled potatoes, cut in small slices
  • a mixture composed by:
    2 mashed boiled potatoes
    a handful of pickled capers
    2 garlic cloves
    a small bunch of parsley, chopped
    the small leaves of a rosemary branch and some branches of "dragoncello"
    sweet marjoram
    fennel
    thyme
    lemon balm
    olive oil
    salt and pepper
Take a quite big pan and let boil 2 litres of water, crumble the hot chilli peppers in the water and salt it at the right point. Then take a fork, skewer the octopuses at the base of their tentacles, raise and lower the octopuses in order to dip gradually their tentacles in the water, more and more as they start to become curly, then dip them completely in the water and let them boil for about 15 minutes or until then they will result very tender.
Switch off the heat and let them in the water, warm.
Take a blender and put oil, salt and pepper and everything indicated in the mixture ingredients, less potatoes and capers. Mix all these ingredients very well as to have a homogeneous and smooth mixture. Then add the capers and mix once again; add the two potatoes - gradually and with some spoons of octopuses cooking water - and mix until you have a quite thick sauce, but at the same time smooth.
When it is time to serve, take out the octopuses from the hot water, position them in the plates and garnish them with the boiled hot potatoes, cut in small slices and seasoned with oil, salt and pepper and with abundant sauce.
This is a traditional dish of Portoferraio (in the Elba island), where the octopusses are sold on the carts along the streets (in the same way the tripe is sold in Firenze).
This is one of the fixed recipes of Pentola dell'Oro, during the whole year, but we suggest it particularly for the summer period, due to the herbs which characterize the above mentioned sauce, because in this period they reach their maximum fragrance.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati


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