Polipo Affogato in Olio - Octopus in oil


In Australia we can still buy gigantic octopus at a fairly reasonable price. The Greek community makes great use of it, whereas the Italians tend to go for calamari or smaller octopus. This is a recipe for giant octopus that I learnt from Cheong Liew's book, My Food. He says he learnt it from the Greeks. Either way, it's delicious. The octopus slices can be served as antipasto. The juices, with the addition of tomatoes, make a superlative pasta sauce.

Serves 6




  • 2 kg (4 lb) octopus, tenderised
  • 1 L (4 cups) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 anchovies
  • 2 heads garlic, cut in half
  • 2 long red chillies


Clean the octopus by removing its beak and suckers some people leave them on, but I do not like them. Please yourself if you have a position on this. I also remove some of the skin.

Bring the oil, anchovies, garlic and chilli to almost smoking point in a pot and slowly immerse the octopus in and out so as to not lose the heat in the pot. After a few dunkings, place the octopus in the pot. Put a lid on and cook on the lowest flame possible. It will be soft and ready to eat after about 30 minutes.

Remove the octopus from the oil and slice. Dress with some of the cooking oil and lemon juice, or with a mayonnaise of your choice. For the use of the leftover cooking liquid for pasta.

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