Red Wine-Braised Baby Octopus with Black Olives

Gently braised in red wine until tender, this octopus is simmered in a rich, robust sauce that would be wonderful with a chewy, mouth-filling red wine.

Plus: F&W's Fish and Seafood Cooking Guide


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  • Servings: 6

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  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • One 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 pounds baby octopus—cleaned, heads halved, tentacles quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups dry red wine, such as Syrah
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 6 slices of sourdough bread, toasted

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium enameled, cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, celery, crushed red pepper and bay leaf and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and simmer for 2 minutes, until slightly reduced. Remove from the heat.

  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the octopus, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Scrape the octopus into the casserole. Repeat with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil and octopus. Add the red wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Pour the wine into the casserole.

  3. Simmer the stew until the octopus is tender, 30 minutes. Add the olives and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaf. Season the stew with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Set the toasts in bowls, top with the stew and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Try a California Syrah or Australian Shiraz.

Contributed By Photo © Squire Fox Published July 2009

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