Octopus braised in red wine with clams and peas



Octopus is one of the most underrated of seafoods and many people shun from giving it a try in the kitchen as they are unsure as to have to prepare it. The best advice I received when travelling in and around Greece was to slow cook it, as this renders the octopus into a tender fleshy-textured delight. This is a very simple dish and if you cannot get clams, then you can use mussels, which work just as well. The red wine is the real winner here as it gives a real depth of favour and gives the octopus a wonderful deep red colour. I sometime add a little chilli if I want a ‘kick’ but the dish works so well with just the garlic and dill that you don’t really need anything more. You can use frozen peas here but you will need to allow a couple of minutes extra cooking.This recipe will serve 6 but again, I will sometimes prepare this as part of a tapas. Make sure you have some warm crusty bread to soak up the juices.

Octopus braised in red wine with clams and peas

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2.2kg octopus tentacles, cut into 3cm lengths

400g canned whole peeled tomatoes

150ml red wine

2kg claims (surf or vongole), purged

750g unpadded peas

2 tablespoons chopped dill

Heat oil in a large casserole, add onions and garlic and cook over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender (7-8 minutes). Add octopus and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring,  add the tomatoes and crush with a wooden spoon, then add the wine and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until the octopus is tender, adding a little more red wine if necessary. (1 – 1.25 hours).
Add clams and cook until clams open (1-2 minutes), then stir in the peas and dill and cook until peas are bright green and tender (1-2 minutes or a little longer if you are using frozen peas). Season to taste and serve hot.

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