Braised octopus with romesco sauce

Braised octopus with romesco sauce

Everyday Seafood

Octopus goes down really well with my customers. It’s definitely one of those things they eat when they are out because they think it’s hard to get right at home. Nonsense, octopus is really simple to do! Follow my recipe and you will wonder why you haven’t tried it before. The lovely Spanish romesco sauce works really well with the caramelised octopus.


Quantity Ingredient
1 octopus (double sucker species), about 1 kg (defrosted if frozen)
olive oil, for cooking
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 bay leaves
3 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the romesco sauce

Quantity Ingredient
20g crustless white bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 red peppers, quartered, cored and deseeded
200g ripe plum tomatoes, halved
30g blanched almonds
30g skinned hazelnuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
400 g tin cannellini beans
1 bunch spring onions, sliced

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
sweet smoked paprika, to sprinkle


  1. Heat a pan large enough to hold the octopus and add a generous drizzle of olive oil. When hot, add the onion, garlic, bay leaves and smoked paprika and cook for 2 minutes. Add the whole octopus and some salt and pepper. Put the lid on and cook for 1 hour, or until the octopus is tender. To check, insert a knife into a tentacle; it should cut through with ease. If not, continue to cook, checking every 10 minutes until it is ready.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Preheat your grill to high. Blitz the bread in a blender to crumbs. Oil and season the peppers and tomatoes all over, then lay skin side up on a large grill tray. Grill until the skins are blistered and blackened. Peel away the skins when cool enough to handle.
  3. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When it is hot, add the nuts and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden all over. Tip out onto a plate and leave to cool. Heat a little more oil in the pan and fry the breadcrumbs and garlic until golden and crisp.
  4. Tip the garlicky crumbs into a blender, add the tomatoes, peppers and nuts and pulse to a rough paste. Add the sherry vinegar with some salt and pepper and blend for 10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  5. When the octopus is cooked, lift it out on a tray and leave until cool enough to handle. Reserve the stock. Cut off and reserve the tentacles. Slit open the main body and remove the ink sac, stomach and eyes carefully. Chop all the main body meat up and put to one side.
  6. When ready to serve, in a large pan, mix the cooled, chopped octopus body meat into the sauce. Add the beans, spring onions and 200 ml of the octopus stock (or more if you prefer a ‘soupy’ dish). Heat through.
  7. Meanwhile, place a frying pan over a high heat. Oil and season the tentacles. When the pan is hot, add a little oil, then the tentacles. Cook for 2 minutes on each side until nicely coloured and lightly charred.
  8. Season the stew and share between 4 bowls. Slice the tentacles and share between the bowls. Sprinkle generously with smoked paprika and serve.
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