Polpi in Umido or Stewed Octopus!

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I often search for authentic recipes that are simple and delicious. Polpi in Umido (stewed octopus) originates from Bari, Puglia. Yes lately I have been quite attached to this region, I guess it’s because there are so many recipes from Puglia with simple ingredients. Plus there is always a star ingredient that dazzles a dish. In this case it’s the humble octopus that often doesn’t get a star gig because we stick to what we know.

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I think the fishing community should be pushing harder to get the word out about this fellow. The octopus is simple to prepare and cook. First you need to remove the beak in between the tentacles. With a small knife, remove the eyes and scoop out the black, hard shell. Slice open the head and remove its intestines. Now give your octopus a really good rinse, make sure you clean the inside of the sac. Once it’s clean, cut the octopus into little cubes, about 3 cm.

Recipe (serves 4)

  • 700g octopus
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 350g canned cherry tomatoes
  • 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper


Use a flameproof casserole dish, add garlic and fry until golden brown. Discard the garlic, add octopus and fry for about 5 minutes to flavour it. Now pour your wine and leave until alcohol has evaporated. Add your tomatoes, anchovies and seasoning. Now put the lid on, and leave your octopus simmering for 1 hour. Make sure to have this dish with crusty bread to scoop that delicious sauce. Now sit back and slowly sip your wine, an Aglianico is a nice match for this recipe.

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