Joao’s Traditional Azorean Roasted Octopus featured in Maria’s Portuguese Table, S1E4

Maria and her cousin Joao on the day of his oldest daughter’s wedding in Sao Miguel.

Here’s my cousin’s recipe for roasted octopus…truly one of my favorites!

Ingredients: 
6-7 pounds of Octopus
3 onions, chopped
7 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons of sweet red pepper paste
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of red hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
3 heaping teaspoons of kosher salt
3 bay leaves
2 cups of white wine
2 cups of olive oil
10 large white potatoes, peeled, cut in half or quarters

Serves 4 – 6 people

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 F degrees.

Note: If using freshly caught octopus you will need to tenderize it by freezing it for at least three days before using it. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to freeze it you’ll need to tenderize it by hitting it with a food mallet several times before cooking it. But, if you’re buying the octopus at your local market chances are that you’re buying it already frozen and all you need to do at this point is to defrost it.

Once the octopus is defrosted, make sure to clean it really well with water. If you find that the octopus is very slimy, make sure to clean it well with vinegar to help remove most of the slim. Once it’s clean you can proceed to cut around the hood/head of the octopus and cut off each tentacle. Next, under running water again clean each tentacle very well until it’s clean of any slime.

Using a large stockpot, add all the clean tentacles and all the ingredients except for the potatoes and mix it all well together. Place the pot on the stovetop and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.

After 30 minutes, remove all the tentacles and place into a large roasting pan, leaving all the liquid in the stockpot. Leave the roasting pan aside for now.

Now, add all the potatoes into the stockpot with the remaining liquid, cover and cook on medium to high heat until the potatoes are cooked. Once the potatoes are cooked add them to the roasting pan by placing them around the outside perimeter of the octopus. Using a ladle, skim and remove the very top of the stockpot liquid and pore just enough to cover the bottom of the roasting pan… but not enough to cover the octopus.

In a preheated oven at 300*F degrees, add the roasting pan, uncovered and roast for 10-15 minutes. Serve with a nice glass of wine… enjoy!!

Fresh caught octopus