1 1/2 lbs cleaned whole baby octopuses
1 small onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
5-6 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp Pernod
1/3 cup tarragon, sherry, or tomato v vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe tomato, cored, halved through the equator, and cut into wedges
1 fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise on a mandolin
¼ cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Leaves from 2 sprigs tarragon
Put the octopuses in a large saucepan and add the onion, celery, garlic, lemon juice, and water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 45 minutes, or until the octopuses are tender (bite into a tentacle to test). Drain the octopuses, discarding the liquid, and halve lengthwise. Remove and discard the beak and any head matter from each octopus. Spread the octopuses on a rimmed baking sheet or shallow dish.
To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the Pernod, vinegar, garlic, shallot, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the octopuses, cover loosely, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
To serve, using a slotted spoon, transfer the marinated octopuses to a bowl, add the tomato, fennel, parsley, and tarragon, and toss to mix. Discard the marinade. Season with salt & pepper.
Recipe courtesy "Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition," written by Gerald Hirigoyen with Lisa Weiss, published by Ten Speed Press, 2009, and used with permission.