Ricordo lontano – Carpaccio di polpo


I have been wanting to make this carpaccio for such a long time, then one thing or another comes up and I end up making something else. Besides, a whole uncooked octopus is hard to find, but lately I saw them at Whole Foods.

The first time I tasted an octopus carpaccio was a few years ago in Italy, in a small restaurant around Lake Como, since then I have been thinking about it. It was such a memorable dish and special moment. The moment might be gone, but I always wanted to try to reproduce the dish.

Last weekend we went to a famous restaurant in Napa where they had an octopus carpaccio on the menu. Needless to say, I order it. I was so excited to taste a Japanese, fusion octopus style carpaccio, and get some inspiration on new flavors. Unfortunately, when the dish arrived, there were a few very tiny and thin slices of cut tentacles buried in salad, that was it. I was so bummed, thinking maybe they had no clue on what the word carpaccio meant or maybe they ran out of octopus, or who knows.

This recipe is fairly simple, yet quite delicate, and light. You just need an empty bottle of plastic (like a water bottle you would buy at the store) to stuff the cooked octopus in it. This way, it will solidifies into a thick block, easy to slice.

Ingredients for 3-4

For the octopus

  • 1 large octopus (3-4 lbs uncooked)
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 bay leaf

For the dressing

  • 6 tbs live oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice (preferably Meyer)
  • Piment d’Espelette
  • 1 tbs parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper


In a large pot, cook octopus with carrot, celery, bay leaf until tender (about 30-40 min). Let it cool in its water. When cold drain and squeeze excess water. Push the octopus in the plastic bottle, from which you have cut the top (you need to have a cylinder with top cut off). Press hard to compress the octopus. Place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

For the dressing, mix all ingredients together.

Remove the octopus from the bottle by cutting the plastic. Slice very finely and divide on individual plates. Sprinkle with dressing on top and serve cold