Chefs' Recipes

Monique Fiso's grilled octopus

The New Zealand chef's recipe calls for confit octopus that's then slow-braised and barbecued for maximum flavour.

  • 25 mins preparation
  • 3 hrs 20 mins cooking (plus cooling)
  • Serves 8
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"Octopus in the late 1980s and '90s in Porirua was not something that was considered fancy," says Monique Fiso. "You'd go to the fishmonger and they'd be trying to flick off the octopus. I grew up eating a lot of it before it was cool. As a team, we love chowing down on octopus."


  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp piripiri paste (see note)
  • 160 ml (⅔ cup) olive oil
  • 100 ml lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra leaves to serve
  • 1 cos lettuce, halved lengthways
  • Roasted onions (optional) and finely sliced long red
    chilli (optional), to serve
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1 birdseye chilli
  • 1.25 litres olive oil
Confit octopus
  • 1 large octopus (about 1.7kg), cleaned


  • 1
    For confit octopus, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil (the water needs to be salty: 80gm salt to 4 litres water). Blanch octopus, including head, until water comes back to the boil (2-3 minutes). Transfer octopus to a bowl of iced water to cool (10 minutes). Drain and cut in half.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 100°C. Place octopus, garlic, chilli and enough oil to cover in a deep roasting pan. Cover with a lid or foil and braise in oven until octopus is tender (2¾-3 hours). Remove from oven and cool in oil, then strain (reserve oil). Cut off head, separate tentacles and trim tentacles at thick end (reserve trimmings). Finely chop head and trimmings, then set aside. Set aside whole tentacles.
  • 3
    Heat 30ml reserved confit oil in a cast-iron frying pan over medium heat, add onion and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes), then add garlic and sauté until golden and caramelised (4-5 minutes). Remove from pan. Add reserved chopped octopus and sauté until starting to get a light crust (4-5 minutes). Cool completely. Whisk in piripiri paste, oil, lemon juice, parsley and salt to taste.
  • 4
    Preheat a woodfire or charcoal barbecue to mediumhigh until coals are white. Brush octopus tentacles and cos with confit oil, then barbecue, turning once, until lightly charred (1-2 minutes each side). Halve cos lengthways. Place on a serving dish with tentacles, scatter parsley, onion and chilli, pour over dressing and serve.


For piripiri paste, halve 3 birdseye chillies lengthways and remove seeds (optional). Place in a mortar with a pinch of salt and pound to a paste with a pestle.Wine Suggestion: 2015 Millton Riverpoint Gewürztraminer, Gisborne, New Zealand. Wine suggestion by Monique Fiso