Polpo in Galera

Jailed Octopus


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

The deliciously sweet taste of octopus makes it a much sought-after ingredient and there are countless recipes all over Italy for this cephalopod. The name of this recipe has arisen because the octopus is traditionally cooked in a tightly sealed pot until tender and moist - the lid of the pot is never removed to stir the dish while it is cooking. It is important to use small octopuses or, if you can find them, small squid, as they are much less tough than larger specimens and will tenderise more quickly without needing to be bashed before cooking.


  • 800 g/1 ¾ lb tiny octopuses or squid
  • 100 ml/3 ½ fl oz/scant ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • a handful of fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Clean the octopuses or squid carefully, removing eyes, beaks and bladders. Wash thoroughly in salted water. Peel and cut into small chunks.
  2. Put the oil in a large pan and fry the garlic over a low heat for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the octopuses or squid. Season with salt and pepper, and cover with a lid.
  4. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender, shaking the pan from time to time to prevent sticking. Add the fresh parsley and serve piping hot.