Baked octopus is one of the most popular dishes in Dalmatia. Usually, it is prepared under the lid and as some of you who already visited Croatia may know this particular way of preparing food is called “Peka”. Peka is practically a baked dish, like lamb or octopus with vegetables, prepared in a large pot, covered with “sač” (metal lid), and placed into the embers of a fireplace, covered with ashes and live coals.
When cooking octopus, the most important thing is to prepare it in a way that it becomes tender. Well, there are several ways to do that. Fisherman used to beat the octopus vigorously against the rocks, then dip it several times into boiling water, then they would proceed with cooking under the lid or some other way. Read our additional tips on how to prepare a super tender octopus meat.
1 kg Octopus
800 g potatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
200 ml white wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Remove the innards, the tooth, and the eyes and wash it with cold water.
Peel the potatoes and carrots, then cut them into smaller pieces.
Peel and quarter the onion.
Toss the vegetables and the octopus in a large bowl and season with extra virgin olive oil and pepper.
Transfer to a lid and cover with foil.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C / 350F for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil, pour over the white wine and bake for a further 30 minutes or until vegetables and octopus are tender.
♣ Additional tips ♣
- If you buy fresh octopus, freeze it before cooking as it will be much more tender.
- Temper the octopus with salt before the end of cooking so it won’t harden.
- If preparing this dish for more than 4 people you can add fresh, cleaned calamari.
- It is always better to buy two smaller octopus (500 g each) than one bigger, as it will become tender faster.
- If you buy a fresh octopus and you want to freeze it, remember to remove the innards, tooth, and the eyes before freezing it.
- Another interesting way to prepare the octopus is to cook it in a large pan, without adding any water as it will quickly release its liquid. Cook until the liquid evaporates, then proceed with oven baking as indicated in the recipe above. In the same pan add white wine so it mixes with a dense layer created previously while cooking the octopus and pour it over the octopus and vegetables after removing the foil.