Qarnit (Octopus)

Qarnit - Octopus the Maltese way


  • 3 – 4 medium sized octopus, frozen
  • 1 bottle 75cl red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 24 black peppercorns
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 4 large garlic cloves finely chopped


Thaw out the octopus, rinse and cut into bite size pieces and place in a large pot together with the bay leaves and the peppercorns, Pour the wine and additional water to cover. Bring to a boil and then slow boil for an hour.
Pour olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, add the garlic and half of the chopped parsley and heat over moderate heat, With a slotted spoon lift out  the octopus and put into the frying pan and stir to coat.
Pour a ladle of the cooking liquid onto the octopus and continue cooking until it has evaporated, keep doing this three or four times until the octopus starts to be coated with the reduced cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper, toss in the remaining parsley place in an earthenware dish and serve at room temperature.(Could be served as nibbles with drinks, or on a bed of lettuce accompanied with sliced tomatoes as a salad)

Source: Traditional Maltese adapted by Henry Borg Barthet

Keywords seafood, tapas, appetizers