Recently my wife’s aunt Barbara was featured on a new online cooking show in her hometown of Queens, New York: Cooking with Granny. On the 11-minute video, she shows us how to make an authentic Greek octopus stew, and even shows us how to shop for just the right octopus at her local seafood market. Barbara was born on the Greek island of Paros and immigrated to New York as a young girl. Her eventual husband, John Aliprantis, was also a native of Paros, and a great fan of octopus stew. Barbara learned this recipe from her mother-in-law.
I found this recipe in Cocktail Food: 50 Finger Foods with Attitude, which we bought on a whim at the Williams-Sonoma outlet one day. (A fantastic book, by the way — highly recommended.) I made it in 2008 for an office party at the State Department, and it received rave reviews. We soon moved on to our new assignment in Moscow, and my wife wowed many of her catering customers with this recipe. When we returned to Washington in 2011, a colleague from the Department noticed my name on an e-mail and wrote to me, not having seen me in almost four years, and remembered the shrimp cups from that office party. Continue reading