Braised and Charred Octopus Taco

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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3 pounds baby octopus

One 750-ml bottle red wine 

One 32-ounce carton chicken stock 

3 carrots, coarsely chopped 

1 head garlic, coarsely chopped, plus 4 cloves

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped 

1 shallot, coarsely chopped 

Salt and black pepper 

Red pepper flakes 

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Arugula Salad:

2 cups arugula

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

Salt and black pepper

Olive Tapenade:

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 to 2 lemons 

1 can black olives 

1 jar Kalamata olives 

1/2 jar green olives

1/2 cup pistachios

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Pinch red pepper flakes 

Salt and black pepper

Pickled Carrots:

2 cups white vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar 

1 tablespoon salt 

Pinch red pepper 

5 or 6 carrots, shaved on a mandolin 

3 Thai chiles 

Zesty Yogurt:

16 ounces Greek yogurt

Juice of 2 lemons 

3 cloves garlic 

Salt and black pepper 

Pinch red pepper flakes 

Corn tortillas, for serving


  1. For the octopus: Add the octopus, red wine, chicken stock, carrots, 1 head garlic, onion, shallot and some salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to a large stockpot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the octopus, 4 garlic cloves, lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. For the arugula salad: Toss together the arugula, mustard, olive oil, vinegar and some salt and pepper in a bowl.
  4. For the olive tapenade: Add the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice to a food processor and pulse to blend. Add the black olives, Kalamata olives, green olives, pistachios, basil, red pepper flakes and some salt and pepper. Pulse to a chunky puree.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of the tapenade to the arugula salad.
  6. For the pickled carrots: Bring the vinegar, salt and sugar to a low simmer in a small saucepan. Add the carrots and Thai chiles and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  7. For the zesty yogurt: In a food processor, blend the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, a decent amount of salt, and a pinch each of black pepper and red pepper flakes.
  8. To plate: Top a tortilla with arugula salad followed by 3 to 4 baby octopus and some pickled carrots. Drizzle with zesty yogurt.