Octopus is a delicious and healthy seafood option that just needs some simple steps to transform its texture from rubbery to tender. Here’s how to cook octopus to perfection along with tasty sides to serve it with.
1. Frequently Asked Questions
1.1. What is the Best Way To Cook Octopus?
Boiling and then grilling is hands down the best cooking method for octopus. This combo yields octopus that is melt-in-your-mouth tender with irresistible charred bits. So for outstanding results, boil first then grill octopus!
1.2. How To Prepare Octopus?
Here are the steps for preparing octopus before cooking:
- Rinse the octopus under cold running water to remove any debris or dirt on the skin.
- Use a small knife to remove the beak, which is the hard protruding part on the underside of the head. Cut around it and pull it out.
- Remove the eyes by making an incision right behind the eyes and cutting the membranes that connect them to the head. Discard the eyes.
- Turn the octopus inside out by pulling the head through the opening at the center of the tentacles.
- Remove and discard the entrails and innards from the head cavity. Rinse well.
- Pull out the small hard “bone”, which is a thin cartilage that runs through the center of the tentacles.
- Remove any loose skin or suckers by rubbing with coarse salt or scrubbing with a brush.
- Give the octopus a final good rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Your octopus is now ready to be cooked whole or chopped into pieces as desired. Store cleaned octopus in the refrigerator if not cooking immediately.
2. How To Cook Octopus
- 1 whole octopus (2-3 lbs)
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lemon, halved
- Olive oil, salt and pepper
In a large pot, bring water to a boil with the onion, garlic, bay leaves and lemon.
Add the cleaned octopus and weigh it down to keep submerged. Reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes until extremely tender. Then drain and let the octopus cool enough to handle.
Next, cut off the head and remove any organs. Then separate the tentacles from the body. and cut the tentacles and body into bite sized pieces.
Toss the octopus pieces with olive oil and season with salt and pepper then grill over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side until nicely charred.
Serve the grilled octopus warm with side dishes and dipping sauce
The two step boiling and grilling method results in the ultimate tender and flavorful octopus that’s sure to wow your tastebuds!
3. What To Serve with Grilled Octopus
3.1. Side Dishes
Roasted Vegetables: Roast vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and asparagus to add color and a burst of flavor.
Mediterranean Salad: Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, olives, and feta cheese for a refreshing salad that pairs well with grilled octopus.
Quinoa Pilaf: Serve a light and nutritious quinoa pilaf with herbs, lemon zest, and a touch of olive oil.
3.2. Dipping Sauce
Lemon-Garlic Aioli: Mix mayonnaise with minced garlic, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt for a zesty dipping sauce.
Chimichurri Sauce: Blend fresh parsley, cilantro, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes for a vibrant chimichurri sauce.
Soy-Ginger Glaze: Combine soy sauce, minced ginger, garlic, honey, and a splash of rice vinegar for a sweet and savory glaze.
A simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice is all you need to complete the perfect grilled octopus platter. Serve it family style or over greens for an impressive main dish.
For outstanding octopus, boiling and then grilling is the top technique. In under an hour, you can have tender, flavorful meat ready to enjoy Greek style with fresh vegetables, breads and herb-infused oils.