Neil Perry's braised octopus with white beans

Neil Perry
Braised octopus with white beans.
Braised octopus with white beans. Photo: William Meppem

These white beans are great with any seafood. Try them with preserved tuna and a few split cherry tomatoes on bruschetta for a great simple lunch.



200g dried cannellini beans, soaked in large bowl of water overnight (or use a 400g tin of beans, rinsed with tap water, and go straight to step 4)

10g sea salt flakes

20ml olive oil

15g garlic, finely chopped

75g brown onion, finely diced


30ml extra virgin olive oil

1kg octopus legs


20ml olive oil

¼ tsp sea salt flakes

¼ cup of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

10g smoked paprika

lemon wedges


1. For the beans, drain from soaking water. Transfer to a heavy-based pot and pour over enough fresh water to cover the beans by about 5cm.

2. Bring pot to a slow simmer and cook uncovered, skimming the froth as needed for 2 hours or until tender. Replenish water as required to ensure beans are covered at all times.

3. Remove from heat, stir in salt and let beans stand in cooking liquid for 30 minutes. Drain beans, reserving 250ml of the liquid.

4. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for about 3 minutes until the onion has slightly softened. Stir in beans and reserved cooking liquid (or use 250ml tap water if using tinned beans) and simmer, stirring gently, for 4 minutes or until the beans achieve a creamy consistency. Remove from heat and spoon onto a large serving dish or platter.

5. Heat up a frying pan or barbecue until very hot, brush octopus with olive oil and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side before arranging on top of the beans.

6. Drizzle with olive oil and salt before garnishing with parsley, paprika and lemon wedges.