Let`s tame a sea monster today & by that I mean we`re going to get over the fear of cooking octopus at home. `Not sure why but I rarely, no, never have attended a dinner party, bbq or other gathering (outside of my house) where octopi has been on the menu. It just kind of seems like a restaurant only dish. Hopefully we can change all that. That being said, this simple man`s plan to healthier better eating today is Mediterranean Style Grilled Octopus. This recipe is really straight forward & easy. Nothing complicated at all & the results are absolutely delicious. A little charred & crispy on the outside, tender & moist inside, basically just dammed delicious! Serve this as an entrée, starter or appetizer. Your guests will be glad you did.
Here`s what you`ll need for your Mediterranean Style Grilled Octopus:
Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 as a 1st course
Octopus- 2, about 3lbs each
Bay Leaves- 3-4
Black Peppercorns- 20 or so
Lemons- 4 or 5
Garlic- 2 or 3 cloves
White Wine-1 cup (optional)
Olive Oil- 1/2 cup
Paprika- 1 Tablespoon
Oregano- 1/2 Tablespoon
Cayenne Pepper- 1 teaspoon
Salt- 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon dividedThe stars of todays show. I know they`re kinda scary looking but that`s all going to change very soon. Most likely you`re going to be buying octopus that`s already been frozen. That`s actually a good thing in this case. The freezing process helps to start tenderizing the meat. When buying, talk real nice to your fish monger & he`ll probably clean them for you. Basically you`re asking him to remove the ink sac, innards & beak. Usually if frozen the ink sac & innards have already been removed during processing.Fill a large pot with water. Add the white wine, peppercorns, bay leaves, a couple of lemons, 2 tablespoons of salt & bring to a boil. I also added a couple of wine corks which the Italians swear by. Not absolutely sure if they make a difference but I`m not arguing generations of experience here. Once boiling give the octopus 3 quick dips in the braising liquid.
The tentacles will curl up for a pretty presentation.
Completely submerge the octopus & bring to a slow simmer. Braise gently for about 45 minutes.While the squid is simmering away let`s make a quick marinade. Juice a couple of lemons & add the oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt & olive oil.Marinades ready.After about 45 minutes remove your tenderized octopi from the liquid to cool. These aren’t nearly so scary now right. If you wish you can easily remove the skin by gently rubbing with some paper towels. It`s by no means mandatory. Do make sure to keep those suckers in tact as much as possible. They`re going to turn into lovely crispy bits on the grill.With a sharp knife separate the legs from the body. The head & body are completely edible & yummy which I ate right away with a bit of lemon & a touch of salt but I wanted to use just the legs for presentation purposes. Feel free to use the whole thing in this dish. It`s all fantastic.Add your octopus to a sealable bag & pour in the marinade. Squeeze out any excess air, seal & refrigerate 2 hours or up to 24.It`s go time! Fire up your grill to high heat & brush the grate with a little oil. Add your marinated octopus & grill for 2-4 minutes per side until slightly charred.Grilled & ready to enjoy! Take of the grill, squeeze a final bit of lemon over the top & serve immediately.
Enjoy your Mediterranean Style Grilled Octopus!!