Mediterranean food. Food as cultural identity, as expression of people’s history, tradition and innovation, melting tastes and flavours. Progetto Mediterranea sails and invites on board the leading figures of Mediterranean cooking, it tastes and experiences, it listens to, it speaks to, it gathers and proves. In October 2014 in Thessaloniki chef Stefanos Stefanidis from Athens prepared his recipe on board. A tribute to Mediterranea expedition, an acknowledgement to the Mediterranean sea and its shores, a fil rouge of feelings and emotions between the Mediterranean and Greece. “We are blessed by octopus”, Stefanidis said, and afterwards he started cooking.

Octopus after Stefanos for Progetto Mediterranea

Ingredients for 10 persons:

1 kg Greek fava (preferably from Santorini)

2 kg of Greek octopus

5 medium-sized carrots

4 small onions

7 lemons

5 oranges

A fresh rosemary bunch

½ teaspoon of cumin powder

Sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 litre extra virgin olive oil

½ litre sunflower oil

250 ml white wine vinegar

1 kg homemade bread

Kritamos* in brine

½ litre red wine

A handful of capers

Clean well and wash the octopus with water and vinegar twice even three times if necessary, and put it in a bowl. Add freshly ground black pepper, a handful of grinded fresh rosemary leaves, ½ litre red wine and a glass vinegar. Cook on a low heat, covered, for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile wash the Greek fava. Cut carrots and onions in large pieces, brown them in a large pan with high rim together with olive oil and wine, add just enough salt. When ready, add Greek fava, a lemon in pieces, a bunch of fresh rosemary, 3 spoons olive oil and cover with water. Skim frequently when cooking, then blend fava into puree. Cover with baking paper or protective film so that it sticks to the surface as to avoid it to harden, and leave it to cool. Afterwards add 2 fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Aside let a handful of washed and squeezed capers brown in little olive oil.

Cut the octopus into pieces, put it in a large bowl and cover with olive oil and sunflower oil in equal parts. Add 2 fresh squeezed orange juice, thin orange slices, fresh rosemary, 1 glass white vinegar and ½ teaspoon of cumin powder. Let it rest.

Prepare bread crouton.

Serve with 2 spoons fava puree on a bread crouton, and top it with a spoon of octopus, some capers and kritamos leaves.

*Kritamos is an edible wild plant belonging to the Crithmum maritimum specie, it is found on Mediterranean coasts, from North Africa to Europe and the Black Sea. It is commonly known as “Sea fennel” or “Samphire” or “Rock Samphire”. In Italy in the area of Monte Conero, near Ancona, it takes the dialectal name of “paccasassi” and is preserved in oil, whereas in Salento, Apulia, its leaves are withered in water and vinegar and it is known as salissia. It has extensive culinary use in fish dishes.