Oven-Baked Octopus with Potatoes and "Migas"

Para versão Portuguesa clique aqui: “Polvo no Forno com Batatas e Migas”

Migas is a traditional dish in Portuguese cuisine. Literally it means small pieces. They are usually made with day-old white or cornmeal bread. Garlic and olive oil go hand-in-hand with the bread when cooking migas. Other ingredients are added to taste. Not to be confused with açorda. Açorda is a soup also made with bread, garlic and olive oil and also coriander and a poached egg. Other ingredients may be added such as salted cod. Açorda can also be a drier mixture of the ingredients above. All in all they are very similar. Migas is used as a side-dish and açorda is a starter or main course. Here I’m using the octopus head and turnip greens to make a very tasty migas side-dish for the octopus.


1 octopus aprox. 2kg
18 small potatoes unpeeled
12 garlic cloves, 4 unpeeled
3 bay leaves
½ cornmeal bread
1 bunch turnip greens
olive oil
salt to taste


Wash the octopus thoroughly under running water, paying special attention to the suckers that usually hold sand. Place it in a pot with boiling water and let it cook for 40 to 60 minutes. It’s tender when you easily poke a fork into its flesh.
Cook the potatoes in water seasoned with salt. Drain and set aside.
Wash the turnip greens, cut the leaves and use the stems that are more tender, discarding the harder, thicker ones. Cook them in boiling water seasoned with salt, drain and place in a colander to drain further while preparing the octopus.
When the octopus is cooked, remove from the water and let it cool a bit before handling. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. Cut off the head and set aside. 


Separate the arms and place them in an oven-proof pan big enough to hold the octopus and potatoes. Add potatoes, unpeeled garlic and two bayleaves. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the octopus and potatoes and place in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping them over once after halftime.
Meanwhile, prepare the migas: Cut the cornmeal bread into pieces and chop them in a food processor until they are fine and crumbly. Set aside. 


Cut the octopus’ head into small pieces: cut it into strips and then crosswise to make ½ inch pieces. Set aside. Chop the turnip greens and set aside.
Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil into a pan. Add 3 finely minced garlic cloves and a bayleaf. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add the chopped octopus and let it cook for about 3 minutes. Add the greens and mix. Add the breadcrumbs and mix. If mixture is too dry add a liitle more olive oil and keep stirring for about 5 minutes. 


Remove pan from the oven. Slice 5 garlic cloves finely and sprinkle over the octopus and potatoes along with some finely chopped parsley.



Oh! By the way, don't forget the wine! It's important to serve this dish with good quality wine. Enjoy!

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