Salt & pepper baby octopus mussels in white wine on a bed of salad

I found this picture again which I thought I have lost it. Remembered that I when to Sydney to visit my cousins. We went to the Sydney seafood market, had salt & pepper baby octopus. It was delicious and I love it. After I came back, I browse on google looking for recipe how to cook it.

There are so many to choose from. I decided to do a twist by adding mussels my sister bought from the mussel’s man and gave me about 1 kg. I use 1/2 kg. So, today I tried to remember how I cook them and found that I have handwritten down in my recipe collection books. Glad to have it so I can type it out and post it today.

I am a chili lover needed to have a kick of spiciness in my taste bud. My crispy baby octopus has a golden-brown crust and tender. Mussels cook in white wine with salad is a complete seafood combination plate that is delicious and brings me memoirs of my visit to Sydney market. Let’s cook!!!



1 packet of mixed salad: carrot julienne, rocket and spinach
1 red capsicum, deseed, cut into thick pieces
balsamic vinegar

Baby octopus

120 g baby octopus, got it cleaned by fishmonger, cut into small pieces
1 c chilled club soda
1/2 c milk
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp oregano powder
2 Tsp cayenne powder
1 1/2 Tsp chili flakes (OPT)
black pepper
oil for deep frying


5 mussels, debeard
1 small cup of white wine
1 Tsp garlic minced
2 small red chili, deseed and cut into strips


One day in advance: prepare mussels

Place mussels in a metal bowl with cold water. Wash and debeard the mussels: pull off the beards using a spanner, they just need a good tug. Place in fridge cling wrap.

The next day: marinate baby octopus

Mix a Tsp of salt with milk in a large mixing bowl. Add baby octopus to the mixture and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. Meantime prepare salad: wash dry and place in salad bowl. In a jar with lid add oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, then shake the jar well. Keep aside.

Mix plain flour, cornstarch, baking powder, oregano, black pepper, chili flakes and cayenne in a large bowl. Next mix in club soda just to blend (a few lumps are okay; just don’t overmix). Remove a few baby octopus and shake off the excess milk. Then toss them in the flour mixture. Coat evenly and repeat with the rest of the baby octopus.

Cooking octopus

Pour oil into a cast iron pan about 4” and heat over medium-high until it’s very hot. To test if oil is hot sprinkle some flour.  If it starts bubbling and it’s ready. One the oil is ready, spoon 4 pieces into the oil using slotted spoon and letting excess drip back into bowl. As I am afraid to cook in hot oil, I wear rubber gloves and google just in case oil splatters.

Turning occasionally to cook evenly and gently with a pair of chopsticks, separating as needed, until golden and crisp about 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the octopus from the oil and place them onto the paper towel on a tray. Season with salt immediately. Repeat for the rest of the baby octopus. Cover with foil and keep warm in low temperature oven about 130 degrees C for about 10-12 minutes. (You don’t have to do it).

Cooking mussels

Bring out from fridge and rinse the mussels again in fresh cold water to remove any bits of shell or barnacle and drain in a colander. Put mussels in a flat deep saucepan, then add the wine, chili and minced garlic. The pan should not be more than half full – the mussels need plenty of space to move around so that they cook thoroughly.

Set saucepan over a high heat and cover tightly with a lid. When the pan starts to steam, cook the mussels for 3-4 mins, shaking the pan from time to time to ensure they cook evenly. They are cooked when the shells have opened. Mussels that have not opened are fine to eat if they can be easily opened. Remove saucepan from the heat to stop the mussels cooking any further.

Assemble the plate

Bring out salad, spoon balsamic oil mixture over it and toss to mix well. Divide salad onto 4 plates. Bring out octopus from warm oven and place about 4 octopus around the salad, and 2 octopus in the middle followed by 5 opened mussels with wine sauce drizzle on it alternate with octopus. Allowing it to stand and rest on the two octopus in the middle. Serve with a glass of white wine. Enjoy!!!!