Oven roasted octopus is the the baked version of a classic summer Italian dish. Seafood is reduced into pieces, then baked with potatoes and capers. Potatoes are roasted until golden. Octopus has to be crispy and dark violet. The sour taste of wine will balance the sweet of octopus and potatoes. A suggestion: salt lightly just a couple of minutes before finishing the oven roasted octopus, an only if necessary.
The Italian cuisine is famous thanks to several cooks whose name has been lost over the centuries; the author of the recipe of Luciana octopus stew (in Italian: “polpo alla Luciana”) is one of them. For the uninitiated, I must clarify one thing: the author of this recipe is not named Luciana! Who invented this tasty recipe is unknown, but the place where it was created is well-known. The Luciana octopus is so named because of the ancient fishing district of Santa Lucia, in Naples. On the sea in front of Santa Lucia the octopuses were caught dipping terracotta amphorae into the water, among the rocks overnight, then were simmered with tomatoes and Gaeta olives in a crock pot covered and wrapped in a wet cloth. The Luciana octopus is served with croutons but, to make a complete Italian meal, is common season spaghetti with the sauce of the octopus as first course and serve the octopus as second course.
In Italy (and not only!) usually fish is cooked with white wine. It is always true? Not really! In many Italian regions such as Tuscany and Campania, octopus is braised in red wine. We call it “drunk” octopus. The result is a tasty main dish with a sauce to be enjoyed with a slice of toasted bread. Today we will prepare it in a particular version, with Concord grapes and potatoes, a new way to enjoy a very old recipe.