Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Italian Octopus Stewed in White Wine and Tomatoes

I can imagine it's pretty hard getting people into eating octopus, especially since it looks so haggard and creepy, but if you give this recipe a try it'll get a bunch of people converted I'm sure. I went to the market expecting to pay loads for a whole octopus but it was like, £3.50 - which I stretched between three people. I think that's good value. Also, it took me about 40 minutes between stages 1 and 2 to de-oil the thing and tear its guts out - both of which are pretty gross. For me, you just stick Ride the Lightning on and go to work, but you'll need a strong stomach! This dish is really awesome - so tangy and fresh tasting, you'll hardly stop to over-think the whole octopus deal - it just tastes great.

You Need:
1 whole octopus
3 cloves garlic
1 cup of white wine
1 small green chilli
1 tin of good choppped tomatoes
3 big-ish tomatoes
1 tbl spoon sugar
salt & pepper

Serve with crusty bread, butter and olive oil or, alternatively, pasta.

1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and then throw the whole octopus in. It's gonna freak you out: it kind-of shrivels up and looks like it's coming alive and stuff - gnarly.
2. Chop up the tentacles and some of the 'head' section into mouthful-sized pieces after you've thoroughly cleaned the monster and fry in some olive oil with the chopped garlic.
3. After about 5 minutes frying, chop the chilli pepper and add that, then a minute after that turn the heat down and add a glass of white wine and the big spoon of sugar and give it a little mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Bring the wine, octopus, garlic and chilli mixture to the boil for a few minutes before adding the tinned chopped tomatoes and roughly chopped fresh tomatoes.
5. Now let the whole deal just simmer for about half an hour. Check on it then, you may have to leave it a little longer... octopus is chewy, you can't get over that, but you want it to be digestible, right?
6. When we cooked this we got old-school and just served it with thick, fresh bread and nice butter and olive oil, proper Italian-style, but you could serve it with gnocchi or regular pasta I guess.