Oktapodi Krasato – Octopus in Wine

A Greek taverna favourite, and best served in summer when the octopus is young and tender. It can be served with the eponymous Greek salad, some lovely crusty Greek bread, and what about some Retsina or Ouzo to top it all off?

Ingredients (serves: 4):

1 kg octopus, young is best if you can find it.
120 ml olive oil
350 grams shallots
220 ml red wine vinegar
120 ml red wine
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato pure’
3-4 bay leaves
2 tsp oregano (dried)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Cleaning of the octopus: Pull of the tentacles. Remove and throw away the intestines and the ink sac. Next remove the eyes and the beak. Skin the octopus (use a very sharp and flexible knife for this). Wash the octopus and make sure you remove any sand or other debris. Alternatively, get your fishmonger to do all this for you!

Cut the octopus into medium sized pieces; (approx 3-4 cm).

Put it into an empty saucepan over medium eat. Liquid from the octopus will be released, then you need to stir until this liquid evaporates.

Add olive oil, and stir to seal all sides. Add the whole shallots, cook until they colour a little, stirring once or twice.

Now add wine, vinegar, tomatoes, tomato pure’, all herbs except parsley and some pepper.

Stir this well, cover and let simmer gently for ca. one hour. Make sure the sauce does not dry out at any time. If it gets close to drying out you are cooking on too high heat, so turn it down, then add a little more wine/water depending on preference.

The sauce should end up being quite thick. When you can easily skewer the octopus, it is cooked.

You can adjust seasoning at this point, make sure you taste the sauce first!

At the very end remove the bay leaves, and add the chopped parsley.

If any of the liquid does separate at the end, turn the heat up a little and stir well until the liquid starts to evaporate. The sauce will thicken and blend well together again.

Kalí óreksi! (Bon Appetit!)