French-style Braised Octopus

For a splendid seafood dish try Kylie Kwong's take on a Provencal classic, flavoured here with aromatic ginger . . .
By Kylie Kwong
French-style Braised Octopus
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 1 hr marinating
  • Effort: medium



  • 1.5baby kg octopus
  • 250 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, quartered lengthways and sliced
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 6cm knob of ginger, sliced
  • 8 small spring onions, rimmed and cut into quarters
  • 1 bulb baby fennel, finely sliced lengthways
  • 150 g smoked bacon bones, sliced
  • 4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 bunch of thyme
  • 55 g sugar
  • 80 ml red wine

For the marinade:

  • 10 clove garlic, peeled
  • 5cm knob of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 125 ml sherry vinegar
  • 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 55 ml honey

Tips and Suggestions

"Many years ago, when Neil Perry and his business partner Trish Richards owned a French restaurant in Sydney, I begged them to let me work there," explains Kylie, "because I felt my lack of formal training and was desperate to learn some classical French cuisine. It was there that I learnt to cook this delicious Proven├žale braised octopus. It's beautiful warm or at room temperature, and it makes a lovely lunch with some crusty bread and a great bottle of red. I really love the smoky bacon bones in this recipe - get your butcher to saw them into slices for you."


1. First clean the octopus. Cut the tentacles away from head below the beak. Cut away and discard the beak, then turn the body inside out. Remove ink sac and internal organs. Strip skin away from head and tentacles under running water. Rinse and drain well, then cut octopus in half.

2. To make the marinade, pound the garlic, chopped ginger and salt with a pestle and mortar until crushed. Stir in the sherry vinegar and olive oil.

3. Place the cleaned octopus in a bowl and pour over the garlic mixture and honey. Using your hands, mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan.

5. Add in the sliced ginger, carrots, celery, onions, fennel, bacon bones and salt.

6. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

7. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until vegetables are lightly browned.

8. Add in the thyme and sugar, increase heat again and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 2 minutes.

9. Drain the octopus from the marinade; reserving the marinade.

10. Add octopus to a heavy-based pan and stir over high heat to sear octopus and seal in juices.

11. Pour in reserved marinade, along with the red wine, and bring to the boil.

12. Reduce heat and simmer gently, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until the octopus is tender. Serve.

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