The thing about octopus is that if not prepared correctly it can be very, very chewy. Even at many restaurants, it is poorly made, so after a horrible octopus experience I avoided it for a long time. Until I went to lunch with my father at a really nice Greek restaurant in Miami. Octopus is one of those sea creatures that just looks otherworldly, so mysterious and alien-like.
It’s not as sad as it sounds, I promise! Getting to eat out is great! And a well-made meal I didn’t make, woohoo! So anyhow, we’re at Milo’s and my Dad insists I get the octopus, that it’s simply served and spectacular. So I ordered the appetizer portion, which was a mistake because it was exquisite and I could have eaten five more plates like it.
Greek Grilled Octopus by Chef G
Easy Grilled Octopus 🔗
This is a simple, traditional Mediterranean recipe for grilled octopus that my mother makes. You can braise the octopus ahead and store it in the fridge for 1 or 2 days before grilling. Eat with a crisp, vinegary salad and squeeze of lemon juice. Or make a garlicky tomato broth with some chorizo. Can be an appetizer for 4 or dinner for 2.
Serving Size: 1 serving
Nutrition Facts: calories 32 kcal, Carbohydrate 10 g, Protein 1 g, Fat 0.3 g, Saturated Fat 0.04 g, Cholesterol 0.5 mg, Sodium 4 mg, Fiber 3 g, Sugar 3 g, unSaturated Fat 0.11 g, servingSize 1 serving
- 1 whole octopus (2-5 lbs)
- Olive Oil
- 1 Lemon cut into wedges
- Aromatics roughly chopped: Onions (Celery, Carrots, Bay Leaves, parsley)
- Sea Salt
- If frozen, allow to defrost completely in the fridge
- Preheat the oven to 300°F
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Submerge the octopus for 1 minute. Remove and rinse under cold running water.
- Prepare the bed of aromatics in a dish large enough to hold the octopus. Roughly chop everything you will be using and place the octopus on top.
- If your octopus is around 2 lbs, allow it to braise for about 2-hours. If it is closer to 4 lbs, you may need 3 or more hours.
- Pierce the flesh with a knife or fork to determine tenderness. It should go through easily.
- To finish, preheat your grill to High (or get out your blow-torch) and grill the octopus until the edges are slightly charred and the ends of the tentacles blackened.
- Rub down the meat with high-quality olive oil, preferably one of the more bitter Mediterranean styles and serve with a dish of flaky sea salt on the side and lemon wedges.
How do you tenderize an octopus before grilling?
I always boil it first, let it cool to room temperature, then grill it quickly to get a nice char, and then season it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dried oregano, fresh parsley, and garlic (optional).
What is the best method of cooking octopus?
Last week I came across a Greek food scientist’s report that small amounts of vinegar tenderize octopus. Salting is essential to tenderness, or fatal; brief dips in boiling water tenderize, or long slow cooling, or a rubbing with grated daikon, or the addition of a wine cork to the cooking liquid.