Octopus in Red Wine

Last night my man was a little low. I had run out of time to cook what I wanted to. I was going to throw together a quick stirfry but thought about what my man would like, about his comfort food. And so, we decided to get Indian Home Delivery from one of our favourite Indian Restaurants.

It was nice. I ate too much – but it was less than what I used to eat. That is a good thing. We had Tandoori Chicken, Palak Paneer and another vegegetable dish.

And so tonight, I decided to cook yesterday’s dinner: Octopus in Red Wine. I found this recipe in a book called ‘Meals from the Freezer’. I went through alot of my recipe books in January, looking for healthy dishes that would fit into the new lifestyle. This one has the bonus of being suitable for freezing which means there are left overs for another night.

Octopus (and calamari) need to be cooked either really quickly or really slowly. This recipe is one of the ‘really slowly’ variety.

I am aware I do cook a number of variations on the theme ‘Protein in Tomato Based Sauce’. While there are similarities, this dish was distinct for me. It had a deep, seafood richness. The octopus was so tender, the olives added bite and the basil, freshness. I was pleasantly surprised. The following are also plusses – octopus is relatively cheap, it is very low in points value for me, the finished meal can be frozen, the recipe can be doubled (it originally was – I scaled it down just to try it out). I think I would also like to add some prawns or scallops or pieces of fish at the end – it would not take long to cook any of these and I think they would add to the dish in terms of texture and presentation.

I served the meal with rice because I find it easier to portion rice than something like garlic bread (some nice sour dough would be lovely with this!). And we had a fresh salad with lettuce and tomato from the garden, rocket, baby spinach leaves, cucumber, pickled garlic and artichokes. I forgot to take a photo because I was hungry tonight and it was gone before I remembered. Octopus with Red Wine won’t become a weekly or fortnightly dinner option but I will cook it again for special occasions.

Octopus in Red Wine
(Serves 4)
1kg cleaned baby octopus
1 tbs olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup red wine
1 x 400g tin crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup torn fresh basil leaves
50g kalamata olives, seeded
1 tbs drained capers, finely chopped

Place the octopus in a heated, dry large saucepan; simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Drain the octopus and discard the liquid. Wipe the pan with paper towel.

Heat the oil in the same pan, cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and octopus, cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours or until the octopus is tender. (Can be frozen, in portions, at this stage)

Just before serving, stir through basil, olives and capers.

Serve with rice or crusty bread and a mixed green salad.

Nutritional Info:
total: 6786 kJ, 263 g protein, 38 g carb, 44.7 g fat
per serve: 1696 kj, 66 g protein, 9.5 g carb, 11.2 g fat

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