Friday, April 27, 2012

Octopus with Garlic and Butter

There better be octopus in Heaven, or I am going to have a big problem. Octopus is one of my favorite foods and I wish it was more available in restaurants and markets in Minnesota!

Here in Brazil, we are usually able to find octopus easily. The other day my mom saw it at the fish market and decide to buy it. She prepared it in a way that is very popular here – with butter and garlic! It was SO good I decided to buy it again this week just so I could share it with you (or just because I wanted to eat it again!!).

I find that, when possible, buying just the octopus arms is much less intimidating than dealing with the whole animal. Cooking it was easy. Brazilians cannot live without their pressure cooker, so I used it to cook the octopus arms which were done (tender) in 15 minutes! This time I added a couple of wine corks to the pot (the legend says it helps to tenderize the octopus) but I did not see a difference from the other day when we cooked the octopus without it.

A few more steps and this dish is done! We typically eat it as an appetizer (served with bread).

Octopus with Butter and Garlic


2 pounds octopus arms
3 small bay leaves
2 wine corks
water for cooking the octopus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges for serving


Place octopus, bay leaves and wine cork in a pressure cooker. Add water until you just cover the octopus. Cover the pressure cooker properly and cook octopus for 10 to 18 minutes after the cooker starts to make that typical hissing sound.
When octopus is cool enough to handle clean off its purple gooey “skin”.  Cut octopus into bite size pieces and set it aside.
On a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook stirring often until it starts to look golden in color. Add the octopus and the butter and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until butter is looking deep golden. Adjust salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley.
Serve right away with lemon wedges and crusty bread or potatoes.


Place the arms in a pressure cooker:

Add the wine corks (optional).

Bay leaves:

Cover octopus with water:

Cover pressure cooker. Count 10 to 18 minutes after the typical hissing sound starts.

Make sure octopus is tender.

It will look like this after cooking:

With your fingers remove the gooey purple stuff:

Then cut it into bite size pieces and set it aside.

Heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until golden.

Add octopus:

And butter:

Stir it around...

Adjust salt and pepper. Turn off heat when butter is looking deep golden. Add parsley.

I served it with bread and wine. Lemon wedges are welcome.


  1. looks wonderful! I love octopus too, but is so hard to find over here :(

  2. I was only able to pick up baby octopus, how would I adapt it to this recipe? (I've never cooked octopus) thank you!

  3. Karina, baby octopus is even better! Discard the head. If you use the pressure cooker, try 10-15 minutes and check the texture. Cook longer if necessary. OR, cook slowly for about 45 minutes using a regular pot.


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