Red Wine-Braised Baby Octopus with Black Olives
- 3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 14 ozs can chopped tomatoes
- 2 lbs baby octopus—cleaned, heads halved, tentacles quartered
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups dry red wine, such as Syrah
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, rinsed
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 6 slices of sourdough bread, toasted
In a medium enameled, cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, celery, crushed red pepper and bay leaf and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and simmer for 2 minutes, until slightly reduced. Remove from the heat.
In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the octopus, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Scrape the octopus into the casserole. Repeat with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil and octopus. Add the red wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Pour the wine into the casserole.
Simmer the stew until the octopus is tender, 30 minutes. Add the olives and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaf. Season the stew with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Set the toasts in bowls, top with the stew and serve.