There is nothing worse than bad Octopus, or squid for that matter. I was given "The Young Man and the Sea" as a gift a few years back, and this was immediately the recipe that jumped out at me. My mouth watered; I almost tasted being back at Esca. Thankfully, despite being in the middle of Pennsylvania, large IQF Octopi are available at the supermarket. If you have access to fresh, obviously less prep, less rigamarole is required. But if you're like me, this recipe, even with some of my shortcuts, results in a perfectly tender, succulent dish that can give your guests a taste of the Mediterranean no matter where you live. As an appetizer--say two big legs for each guest--its also quite affordable.
Pasternack suggests serving it with stewed corona beans. I usually use canned cannelini beans (I've never been a bean soaker, not quite the connoisseur) , and add pancetta or bacon to the mix as a base...because, well, it's delicious. If you want to make two octopi and use this as a main as I have done previously, gently laid atop the cannlini beans (which you can make ahead and bring to room temp), I also usually serve deep fried olives with an aioli, or the NYT garlicky, creamy gazpacho, as an appy.
Top with your favorite zesty vinaigrette! —TheVealWhisperer