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Baby Octopus in Tomato Sauce

July 24, 2006

After eating at Can Ganassa in Barcelona where I had a baby octopus in tomato sauce dish, I became obsessed with recreating the dish at home. Not to mention, what a great way to “re-visit” Spain while sitting in my New York City apartment?!

This octopus dish was just so amazing. The tomato sauce was what truly made it as it was so simple and fresh yet bold with flavor. The baby octopus was the perfect accompaniment because its subtle taste allowed the sauce to shine, and the tentacles helped grasped all that great sauce.

Tina, who ate at the restaurant with me, and I agreed that the tomato sauce included garlic, capers, and anchovies. So this is what I went with for my recreation. I was also sure to use good, crushed tomatoes to ensure the necessary fresh flavor.

Here is how I made it (per serving):

  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 2 Anchovies
  • 1 ½ cups Canned crushed tomato (see Note 1)
  • 2 Garlic cloves, sliced
  • 20 Capers, chopped
  • 1/3 lb Baby octopus (See Notes 2 and 3)
  • ½ cup Sherry (or white wine)
  • Bread, to serve with (optional)
  1. Over low heat in a small pot, add oil and anchovies. As the anchovies heat up, break them with the back of a large spoon. The anchovies will eventually disappear into the oil and develop a nice, nutty flavor (not fishy!).
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, garlic, capers, and octopus. Cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Uncover and add sherry. Raise heat to bring the sauce to a rapid simmer for 5 minutes (this is to burn off the alcohol of the sherry).

For a twist, this dish would also be great with kalamata olives and basil.



  1. When choosing your canned tomatoes, be sure to buy the crushed tomatoes. Avoid tomatoes that are canned in a “thick puree” or include seasonings (such as basil). You only want the pure, crushed tomatoes.
  2. If you are unable to find baby octopus (or if it gives you the hibby-jibbies), you can use squid as a substitute. I have made this dish with both octopus and squid, and both options were great. However, I will note that the baby octopus tentacles do a better job with holding all that fabulous sauce.
  3. The baby octopus I bought had already been cleaned, but if yours have not, check out this link to learn how to clean them.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. pinknest permalink
    July 28, 2006 7:20 pm

    love the photos and your blog! just stopping by to say cheers.

  2. Luisa permalink
    August 14, 2006 5:02 pm

    Kristin – that looks and sounds amazing! Thank you for recreating it and posting the recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

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