Grilled Octopus

February 25, 2017 10:50 AM

Maria Papa shows off even more of her seafood chops, using an old trick plus some choice ingredients to make a mouth-watering Grilled Octopus with Dan in the Let's Eat Kitchen.

Grilled Mediterranean Octopus

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Octopus is probably not on your weekly shopping list, but keep this cephalopod mollusk in mind for a versatile and tasty meal. Octopus is available all year long, and most likely found in the frozen fish section of your supermarket, so the first order of business is thawing the whole octopus correctly.  Please do not thaw octopus — or any food, for that matter — outside of the refrigerator.  Foods left on the counter to thaw are susceptible to picking up air borne bacteria and it is simply not safe for a slew of other reasons as well.  So please allow at least one day for thawing a frozen octopus in the refrigerator.


Two whole octopuses (thawed and cleaned)

2 natural corks

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3 cups water

palm full pepper corns

1 bay leaf

1 lemon cut into slices for cooking; 1 lemon cut into wedges for serving

2 cloves garlic (smashed with the side of a knife)

1/4 cup lemon juice 

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling over the finished product

pinch dry oregano

1 scallion

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Once thawed, rinse off the whole octopus under cold running water and pat dry, much the same way you would a raw chicken.  Then place in a soup pot with with the corks, red wine vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaf, lemon slices and water. Cover the pot with a lid and place on high heat for 5-7 minutes, then turn down to your lowest stove-top setting for another 1.5 hours. The octopus is going to steam slowly surrounded by all of those wonderful flavors and it’s own liquid, making it tender and delicious!

From the pot, place octopus on a cutting board while still hot.  Slice octopus into desired pieces.  Place cut up octopus in bowl containing the garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, sliced green scallion, kosher salt and pepper to taste. Be certain to complete this step while the octopus is hot as it will absorb the flavors of the marinade more efficiently and faster. Let marinate for one hour — or up to 12 hours if time allows.

Heat outdoor grill to hi heat or, if using an indoor grill placed over your stovetop, spray it with cooking spray and pre-heat.  Place pieces of marinated octopus on the grill with kitchen tongs, and grill for just a short while to char the octopus — about 3 minutes.

Your finished product is now ready to be the main attraction either on top of arugula or baby greens and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and served with lemon wedges on the side, or as the main ingredient in a white pizza. 


Joel Landas

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