Grilled octopus is one of those dishes many people only order at fine dining restaurants because they think it is impossible to make at home. I am here to demystify this delicious protein. There is a reason octopus gets this reputation, but with a few easy steps you can make grilled octopus at home following this recipe.
How to cook octopus? There are many ways to tenderize octopus, including beating it against a rock, simmering for a long period and cooking with a cork, just to name a few ways. Living in the city, I cannot go beating an octopus on a giant rock, so I rely on simmering it. There is an old wives’ tale that says adding a cork to the simmering liquid helps to tenderize the octopus. While there is no science for this, if you have a cork laying around why not give it a try! Just make sure it is a real cork and you sanitize it first.
What does grilled octopus taste like? Contrary to what you people think, it is actually a delicate and and mild flavor. In fact, it gets a lot of its flavor from the broth it is cooked in. Bay leaves are often added to the cooking liquid and it adds a lovely flavor. It is not fishy or taste of the sea but taste more of a white meant, similar to pork. This is especially try when grilled. Grilled octopus has a charred smoky flavor. The texture is close to lobster and more meaty and tender. It is not slimy or tough if cooked properly.
I find potatoes are an octopus’ best friend. There is nothing better to pair a chargrilled octopus with then potatoes, extra virgin olive oil and lemon.
If you have never made octopus at home before, I hope you give this a try!
Italian Style Grilled Octopus
Smoky, charred and crispy grilled octopus that is easy to make at home.
Prepare the Octopus
Simmer the octopus
Rinse the octopus well. Remove the beak and eyes, or ask your fishmonger to clean and debeak the octopus before brining home.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add the lemon, bay leaves, salt, pepper and cork. Turn the heat heat to a low and slowly dunk the octopus a few times before submerging. This will help the legs curl and promote even cooking. Add enough water to fully cover the and let simmer for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
Prepare the octopus
Remove the octopus from the simmering water and allow to cool. The skin will be dark purple and come off easily when touched, this is a good sign it is cooked thoroughly. Removing the skin is optional but will give you a better grill. You can either rinse it under warm water to remove or use a paper towel. It is okay if it all doesn't come off, that is normal.
Marinade the octopus
Remove the body from the legs. Slice from the center to remove the legs. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. You can grill the octopus immediately or allow to marinate for several hours in the fridge.
Grill the octopus
Add the octopus to a preheated grill pan or grill. The octopus is already cooked and only needs seared. Grill each side for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.