So I had the 1-1.5 kilo octopus in the cooler. And no recipe books to help me proceed. I did recall seeing octopus hanging out to dry in a Greek cookbook I browsed through once, so I assumed drying it was a useful step and I did that for an hour. Then I recall a show on Food TV that distinctly stated the octopus had to be beaten rather violently to let the muscles or fibers in its tentacles relax and result in a more tender texture. But this octopus seemed so small and I didn’t want to beat it, (though i realize now from Sha’s comment in the previous post that I could have whacked it against the rocks by the sea) so I opted to boil it in water for about an hour instead. It seemed tender enough when it emerged, then I dried it off, peeled off any bits of skin that weren’t clinging stubbornly to the tentacles, and fired up the grill. Ugh, a note on cleaning it, though… a fairly messy process, I assure you.
I tossed the boiled and dried octopus in some very good olive oil, generous amouns of sea salt and some freshly cracked black pepper and grilled it over hot coals for just a minute or two on each side. This dried off the outer portion of the skin, provided a very slight charring and crisped up the ends of the tentacles. Next I sliced the octopus into 1/3 to 1/2 inch pieces, added an equal amount of peeled shrimp, added more superb olive oil and a pinch more of salt and pepper and some sliced thai chillies for color and a bit of spice. Transfer this to a serving platter and add a few slices of lemon and it’s ready for the table…
It was pretty good for a first ever attempt. The octopus were indeed a touch chewy because I didn’t beat the muscles out of it, but it was a pleasant chewy, with just a hint of resistance, not old chewing gum chewy. It paired well with the shrimp and this entire platter of salad was gone in minutes. Several guests were skeptical about MM’s octopus experiment, but once they tasted it, they were back for seconds and I wish I had purchased two octopus instead. Well, now I know. Easy to do, very economical, a bit exotic, and a terrific starter for a beach side lunch. Next time throw in some grilled mussels, scallops, etc. and it will be a full-fledged grilled seafood salad!
Top photo by MM. All other photos taken by the Teen.