Braised pickled baby octopus with red wine & oregano

serves 10 antipasti
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 1hr (approx.)
main ingredient(s) octopus, red wine, Tomatoes

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This braised octopus can be eaten cold, warm or hot, and it’s fine to make it a few days before it’s served. Lay it on a platter, and put it on the table with a bottle of white wine, plenty of crusty bread, olives and cheese, or eat it on its own with fetta and crunchy bread.


1 kg baby octopus
2 punnets cherry tomatoes
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
10 shallots, peeled and thickly sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 red chillies, split but with seeds in
400 ml red wine
2 tablespoons dried oregano
3 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
600 ml water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
80 ml sherry vinegar, or other wine vinegar
1 heaped tablespoon raw sugar
salt and pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the octopus for 1 minute, then drain and set aside.

To remove the skins from the cherry tomatoes, bring another pot of water to the boil. Blanch the tomatoes for 1 minute. Drain, peel the skins and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and chilli. Cook for about 5 minutes until the shallots are soft and caramelised, stirring often.

Add the wine, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, coriander seeds, water and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer over a low heat, then add the octopus and braise for 30 minutes. Stir the tomatoes and vinegar into the pot and cook for a further 15 minutes. Stir the sugar through and check seasoning.

Serve straight away or allow to cool to room temperature. If making ahead of time, place in a jar and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Comments & Reviews1

dirkz's picture
Aug 2, 2012

Hi Karen,
great recipe., thanks you.
We bought some 'big' octopus at the markets the other day and I thought this recipe would work with larger octopus too. Who long would be the blanching time be and the braising time after? Should I cut the octopus down into pieces of similar size as half baby octopi you are using?
Let me know. There is such a fuss in the cooking world on how long to braise/boil large octopus, would be good to get a handle on it.

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