• Octopus meze (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns

Never put oil and water with your octopus, is Thomas Deliopoulos's rule. Whether you choose to serve your octopus char-grilled or preserved, don't forget your side of ouzo with your mezedes! Food Safari Water






Skill level

Average: 4.4 (40 votes)


  • 1 large octopus, tenderised
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 250 ml (1 cup) red wine vinegar


To char-grill

  • Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Drizzle of red wine vinegar
  • Pinch dried wild oregano (rigani)


To preserve

  • 250 ml (1 cup) red wine vinegar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small red chillies, cut in half
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
  • 1 tsp dried wild oregano (rigani)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cut the head from the body of the octopus just below the eyes and discard. Remove the beak and separate the tentacles.

Place the tentacles into a large saucepan over high heat. Add the bay leaves and cook for 5 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently for 40 – 60 minutes or until a knife inserts easily. Drain and set aside.

Once this stage is complete you can choose to char-grill or preserve the octopus.

To char grill the octopus, preheat a chargrill over high heat, then cook the tentacles for 5-10 minutes or just until heated through. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar and a sprinkle of wild oregano.

To preserve the octopus, allow to cool completely after cooking. Slice the tentacles into 3-4 cm chunks and pack into sterilized jars. Pour over the vinegar and half the olive oil. Add the chillies, garlic and oregano. Cover with the remaining oil, making sure the octopus is completely submerged. Seal the jar and refrigerate for 2-3 days before eating. The preserved octopus will keep refrigerated for 1-2 months- just make sure it is always submerged in olive oil.


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachel Lane. Creative concept by Belinda So.

Maeve O'Meara is back in Food Safari Water starting 8pm, Wednesday 1 August on SBS and then you can catch-up on all episodes via SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.