There can never be enough one or two bite canapes in an entertainer’s repertoire, and these ratatouille octopus tarts are an excellent one to add. I actually learned this dish from a tapas bar in Granada and finally get to put it up on the blog!
I live in Spain about 2 months a year and my favorite thing in the whole country is the food. Ok, that might not be surprising, since Spanish cuisine is so good. My favorite part is Andalusia, and the tapas culture is seriously epic.
I first tried these ratatouille octopus tarts four years ago yet had never thought to make them at home. It wasn’t until I had a couple friends come visit me in Granada and I decided to make them for an ‘at home’ tapas party. Let me just say, they were a huge hit.
In Spain this dish would be called Canastillas de Pisto con Pulpo, since pisto is the Spanish version of ratatouille, however as more people know the French name it was easier to go with that.
What is Pisto?
Pisto is a Spanish vegetable stew similar to the French ratatouille. It uses aubergine, zucchini, tomato, onion, and peppers and is cooked in a very healthy amount of olive oil. While this recipe adds octopus, the traditional version is completely vegan.
How To Make These Ratatouille Octopus Tarts
This recipe will be divided into two parts. The first is just a pisto recipe, which is great because you can make a large batch and style it in different ways. Then I’ll show how to quickly and easily turn it into these ratatouille octopus tarts!
- 1 large Eggplant – cut into cubes
- 1 large Zucchini – or two small ones, cut into cubes
- 2 Bell Peppers – traditionally people use half red and half green, but you can use whatever colors you like.
- 1 large Onion – diced
- 3 cloves Garlic – minced
- 1 teaspoon Spanish Paprika – this is a sweet type of paprika, not at all hot like the Hungarian version.
- 1 tablespoon Ajo y Perejil – this is a mix of dry parsley and granulated garlic. You can just use about 1.5 tsp of each if you can’t find this spice blend outside of Spain.
- Salt – to taste
- Olive Oil – as needed. Seriously, pisto is made with a LOT of olive oil. If you think you are using too much, don’t worry they probably use more in Spain.
One of the tricks I learned for making Spanish pisto came from an abuela I met during my time in Jaen. She said the trick is to fry everything separately before adding it to the stewpot. And ever since that lesson I’ve never made pisto differently.
In a pan add a healthy amount of olive oil and begin frying your ingredients. I like to start with the eggplant as I love when they really break down into the sauce. However for those of you who like more firm eggplant, you can fry them last. Lightly sprinkle each ingredient with a bit of salt to help draw water from the vegetable.
When the eggplant is nice and caramelized dump it all into a pot oil and all. Let the pot sit at a very low heat. Then add more oil to the pan and add in the zucchini. Fry the zucchini until browned then add it to the pot. Rinse and repeat with every ingredient.
After you have cooked all the ingredients in the pan and added them to the pot add about a cup of water and turn the heat up to medium. Add in the garlic, paprika, and parsley blend and give everything a good stir. Simmer the pisto until the water you added has evaporated and most of the vegetables have broken down.
The pot should look like a bit of a mess, but it is a very delicious mess if I say so myself. Yes it looks oily, but that is just more flavor to sop the bread in!
Depending on how long you cook this Spanish pisto will determine how broken down everything is. I have gotten it served from extremely chunky (probably simmered less than an hour) to almost a puree (could be a full day pisto) but the one truth is that it has always been delicious.
Now To Transform It Into Ratatouille Octopus Tarts
You Will Need: 1-2 Octopus Tentacles, Pre-made Tartlet/Mini-Tart shells, and some chives for garnish.
Because I make pisto in large batches I am actually using leftovers for this recipe. You will see in the photo above there is a TON of oil. You can drain it or mix it back in, but I ALWAYS mix it back in since it had so much flavor.
For this recipe you will also need mini tart shells. You can make them yourself, but that takes a ton of time and is completely unnecessary in my opinion. However if you want to make homemade tarts then my recipe for pate brisee is ideal.
To make the octopus boil a tentacle or two in a pan of water for 20 minutes (or less if they are very skinny). Then slice the octopus into pieces. Back in the pan add a little olive oil and quick-fry the pieces to get a little browning on the suckers.
Add the pisto to the pan and bring up to a simmer. Then turn off the heat and fill the tartlet shells with the ratatouille and top with a piece of octopus for presentation. I like to use a piece of chive as a garnish and to elevate the overall look and make this a great tart for entertaining!
Try These Other Delicious Octopus Recipes
Ratatouille Octopus Tarts
- 1 Pan for frying
- 1 Pot for stewing
- 6 medium Tomatoes cubed. You can use more or less it is up to you. I use 6 medium tomatoes but if you like a very tomato-y stew feel free to add more
- 1 large Eggplant cut into cubes
- 1 large Zucchini or two small ones cut into cubes
- 2 Bell Peppers traditionally people use half red and half green but you can use whatever colors you like.
- 1 large Onion diced
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Spanish Paprika this is a sweet type of paprika not at all hot like the Hungarian version.
- 1 tablespoon Ajo y Perejil this is a mix of dry parsley and granulated garlic. You can just use about 1.5 tsp of each if you can't find this spice blend outside of Spain.
- Salt to taste
- Olive Oil as needed. Seriously pisto is made with a LOT of olive oil. If you think you are using too much don't worry they probably use more in Spain.
- 2 tentacles Octopus
- 24 Tartlet Shells store-bought is entirely fine in this recipe
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Chives for garnish
- Spanish Pisto Instructions
- Begin with cutting the eggplant and frying the cubes in olive oil in a pan. You can prep most of the ingredients as you are frying to save time.
- When the eggplant is caramelized, move it into a large pot on very low heat. Then add more olive oil to the pan and begin frying the zucchini cubes. Rinse and repeat until you have seared or fried all the ingredients. You don’t need to cook the tomatoes, you can just add them to the pot in the beginning so they break down.
- Once all your vegetables are in the pot add the minced garlic, parsley blend, and paprika and give everything a good mix. Add a cup of water and turn the heat up to medium. Simmer until the water is evaporated, about 1-2 hours. The longer you cook the pisto the more it will break down, so if you like a really saucy pisto (like me) go ahead and simmer it for hours.
- While the pisto is simmering you can boil the octopus tentacles. These should be boiled for 45 minutes, so start it when you are 45 mins away from desired pisto consistency.
- Remove the octopus and slice into pieces. Add olive oil to a pan and lightly fry the pieces for a minute or two to crisp up the suckers. Add to the ratatouille and give everything a mix.
- Fill the tartlet shells with a bit of pisto/ratatouille and top with an octopus piece. Finish with a piece of chive and serve. Enjoy!