An unexpected (and awesome) gourmet gift

By Erik Mathes

Some kids get popcorn and chips for snacks, but the Gullo family of Sicily did things a bit differently. The Gullo children were given pieces of tender octopus, freshly caught in the Mediterranean, simply boiled, and given a squeeze of fresh lemon juice—and they literally ate it up. Decades later, Frank and Paula Gullo turned this life-long love for octopus into a thriving family business.

From their headquarters in Long island, New York, Gullo Specialty Foods has grown to become a leading wholesale supplier of octopus, squid, and cuttlefish (aka sepia) for some of the best chefs around the world. Because of Gullo’s signature tenderization process, their seafood has an unmistakable melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes it one of the most highly sought-after proteins by chefs in NYC, throughout the Empire State, and beyond.

The Gullos recently expanded their business to offer seafood to home cooks and ambitious foodies, too. Now you can just visit their site to get your hands on succulent, tender octopus and cuttlefish plucked straight from the Spanish Mediterranean, in addition to all the delicious domestic squid you can eat—plus a selection of artisan balsamic vinegars that make an ideal accompaniment to any seafood.

It’s a cinch to make memorable meals when you’re cooking with Gullo’s seafood—and even easier when you buy fully cooked octopus, which they just happen to sell, too.

The Gullo difference
  • Gullo offers wild-caught octopus and cuttlefish/sepia (which is like calamari, but more tender) from off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean.
  • Gullo uses a special tenderization process that uses a tumbler, sea salt, and cold water.
  • No additives or chemicals are ever used in Gullo’s products.
  • Raw products can be frozen and stored for up to two years.
  • Octopus can be thawed and refrozen without sacrificing quality of flavor or texture.

How to easily prepare octopus and cuttlefish

Octopus and cuttlefish (also known as sepia) can be enjoyed in salads, appetizers, vegetable dishes, entrées, and so much more Best of all, it’s also very easy to prepare.

Basic preparation: octopus
1. For small octopus, place in boiling water for 7–10 minutes. For larger octopus, increase boiling time to 30 minutes.
2. After boiling, small octopus should be left in pot for 10 minutes (15 minutes for large octopus) with heat off.
3. Once ready, the octopus just needs a squeeze of lemon and can be eaten right away.

For more flavor, marinate the boiled octopus with extra virgin olive oil, white vinegar, and pepper for 30 minutes to an hour, then place on the grill. Once the octopus is charred on both sides, remove from grill and serve immediately with a slice lemon on the side.

Basic preparation: cuttlefish/sepia
1. Place sepia in boiling water for 5 minutes.
2. Remove from water and place on a dish. Sprinkle lemon juice on top and enjoy.

For grilling, put boiled sepia straight onto the grill. Once charred on both sides remove from grill. Add extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and fresh chopped herbs if you like. Eat right away.