Baby octopus braised with riesling and peas

Neil Perry says this dish works just as well using red wine, so give a chianti a go.
Neil Perry says this dish works just as well using red wine, so give a chianti a go.  Photo: William Meppem

I love squid, cuttlefish and octopus braised with wine – the seafood gets a very meaty flavour and texture when slow-cooked. This dish works just as well using red wine, so give a chianti a go. The peas are not supposed to be bright green: the long cooking process turns them a dark, rich colour. Don’t worry, they will taste better than ever – you won’t believe how tender and sweet they are. Serve this on some soft polenta, and it’s a match made in heaven.

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil

800g baby octopus, cleaned and cut in half

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 onion, finely sliced

240g (2 cups) frozen baby peas

400ml riesling

extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 large handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, shredded

cooked polenta, to serve (optional)

Method

1. In a large heavy-based saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over high heat, add the octopus and sear for about 5 minutes, turning over halfway through, then remove from the pan.

2. Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and a pinch of sea salt, and cook for a few minutes until softened, then add the peas and return the baby octopus to the pan.

3. Deglaze the pan with the riesling and bring to the boil. Add a 250ml (1 cup) water, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pan and cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

4. Divide between 4 plates and give a good grind of pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the parsley overand serve with polenta (if desired).