1kg (2.25lb) young octopus
about 150ml (0.25pint) olive oil
about 150ml (0.25pint) red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic
salt and black pepper
4-6 stalks thyme or 1tsp dried thyme
lemon wedges, to serve
Prepare and wash the octopus (as in Octopus in Red Wine). Place the head and tentacles in a pan with 6-8tbsp water, cover and simmer for 1-1.25 hours until it is tender. Test it with a skewer. Drain off any remaining liquid and set aside to cool. Cut the flesh into 12mm (0.5inch) strips and pack them loosely into a screw-topped jar. Mix enough oil and vinegar to fill the jar - the exact amount will depend on the relative volumes of the seafood and the container - stir in the garlic and season with salt and pepper. If you are using dried thyme, mix it with the liquid at this stage. Pour it over the octopus, making sure that every last piece is completely immersed. If you are using thyme stalks, push them into the jar. Cover the jar and set it aside for at least 4-5 days before using. To serve, drain the octopus and serve it on small individual plates or saucers with the lemon wedges. Cubes of at least one-day old bread, speared on cocktail sticks, are the usual accompaniment.