Monday, 9 February 2015


A very long time ago, as a young and enthusiastic 'cooking' teacher in a small country town, I got to know the proprieters of the local fish and chip /pizza/ take away business. The family were second generation Greek and cooked many traditional Greek dishes and very generously invited me to many of their family dinners. Every now and then they would make this dish of octopus, The pizza oven was set to a low temperature and large baking dishes of octopus were left to slowly cook in a mixture of red wine, garlic and olive oil. Large loaves of chewy and crusty bread, were cooked in the same oven, after it had heated up for the evening pizza production. I have the fondest memories of sitting around the table 'out the back'  eating the octopus and mopping up the juices with the bread. A simple salad always accompanied the meal. It was fabulous, really tender octopus and the most flavoursome sauce - it is still a favourite.

I often serve the octopus cold, it makes a great finger food. A large bowl is also good as part of a multi dish dinner. Use baby octopus to speed up the cooking time. Sometimes I use sherry instead of red wine. If it is to be eaten cold, remove the octopus from the liquid and save it for a seafood stew.

Slow Cooked Octopus
1 kg octopus*
1 cup oil
1 cup red wine or sherry
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bay leaf

To serve
A little olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 green chilli, very finely diced

Rinse octopus

Combine, oil, red wine, garlic and bay leave in a large saucepan, Bring to boil.

Add octopus and simmer until tender, 20 -30 minutes for baby octopus, an hour or longer for large tentacles.

Allow octopus to cool in braising liquid.

Remove octopus and place in a single layer on a plate or tray lined with cooking parchment.


Retain the braising liquid for later use; it makes an excellent base for a seafood stew. Refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze.

To Serve
If you cooked large tentacles, cut into bite sized chunks, leave baby octopus whole.

Place octopus in a serving bowl, sprinkle with some salt flakes, splash a little olive oil and a squeeze the lemon juice over the octopus.

Garnish with lemon zest and chilli if using.

*Use baby octopus or large whole tentacles (tumbled by fish supplier)

Baby octopus in sherry and oil braising liquid. The octopus develop colour during cooking. If red wine is used the colour is a darker pink/red than when sherry is used. They shrink up a lot during the cooking process.

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