Our Speciality Restaurant Corporate Chef, Luca Cesarini, unveils a delightful and yet very easy-to-make octopus recipe that will elevate your meal to a culinary highlight!
First, we’d love to know more about you – why did you want to become a Chef? How did your career start and what is your current position in MSC Cruises?
“I’ve inherited the love for cooking from my family and this passion has grown with me. I started my career as a Chef right after secondary school and I’ve travelled the world ever since. I’ve worked in the USA, Japan, Thailand, Germany, Dubai, Maldives and Italy before starting my job with MSC Cruises as Corporate Chef for the Speciality Restaurants.”
The recipe you’re presenting today is currently served in one of the Speciality Restaurants available on board MSC World Europa, La Pescaderia, a brand new Mediterranean fish restaurant. Can you tell us a bit more about this dish?
This dish takes its inspiration from one of the most famous traditional Greek dishes from the Cycladic Islands: stewed octopus - or Chtapodi Crasato. Tender octopus carefully marinated in extra virgin olive oil and seasoning, is served with succulent potatoes, fresh tomato sauce and aromatic thyme. While this hearty dish would be a main course in Italy, in Greece it's served as a delightful appetizer, often accompanied with bread slices, or as a comforting soup, to be enjoyed either hot or cold, providing a versatile dining experience.
Ingredients for 4 persons:
Octopus 1,440 g
Fresh Carrots 80 g
Fresh green celery 40 g
Fresh herb bay leaves/Laurel 4 g
Marinate for the Grilling
Juiced Lemon 120 g
Fresh parsley (chopped) 20 g
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 40 ml
Salt 4 g
Stewed potato in tomato sauce
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 120 ml
Potato 280 g
Fresh Tomato sauce
Fresh thyme 16 g
Garnish & Serving
Salt flakes (preferably Maldon type) 4 g
Fresh parsley (chopped) 12 g
First, boil the octopus starting from cold water, adding vegetables and herbs, 35 minutes per kg in water at 100 degrees Celsius then remove it from the heat and leave it in its own boiling water until it cools down and finishes the cooking slowly. In the meantime, boil the potatoes in water until half cooked and then proceed cooking the potatoes in olive oil adding tomato sauce and seasoning to taste. Once the octopus is cooked, toss the octopus into the marinate and roast hardly on the grill top until crispy and hot, then toss with a bit of marinate again. Put the stewed potatoes on the plate, lay the octopus on top and finish with extra virgin olive oil