My first taste of grilled octopus was at a Spanish tapas restaurant in Portland, Oregon. It was perfectly grilled, crispy, tender and so delicious. And I was hooked!
Dahn and I recently visited a Mediterranean restaurant in Chicago and ordered the grilled octopus served with roasted fingerling potatoes, lettuce greens and a lemon vinaigrette. This easy grilled octopus is my version of that memorable meal.
Octopus is a delicacy enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean and many parts of the world. You can also find it on the menus of many up-scale restaurants in America. This unusual-looking sea creature has become my #1 menu search at any Spanish or Mediterranean restaurant.
Usually, octopus is presented with lemon or a lemon vinaigrette and we are serving it with our own specially created Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette:
This zesty vinaigrette includes a portion of our recently made preserved lemons and has tiny bits of preserved lemons rind suspended throughout the vinaigrette. It is a tangy, citrusy blend of lemons, lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar and a touch of honey.
Lemons lose their characteristic bitterness when preserved in salt. They become tender with an intense flavor. Preserved lemons are an integral part of Mediterranean cuisine and have been making their way into our American kitchens. Try our recipe for a compound Preserved Lemon Butter and add a dollop to your broiled fish or sautéed veggies.
How to grill Octopus:
Oh, I do get squeamish at the thought of preparing and cooking a whole, raw, long-legged octopus. There is a process to the cleaning and preparing of this weird-looking creature and begins with dipping it boiling water for a few seconds to get those curly tips.
Then it needs a gentle simmering for 30-minutes to tenderize it. After that, it is ready for whatever you want to use it for. If you are adventurous and want to begin with a fresh octopus Fine Dining Lovers has instructions.
But…I have discovered a much easier, less complicated method to get my octo fix. Buy pre-cooked, frozen octopus in vacuum-sealed pouches. The octopus in our recipe is from Spain and they are ready to eat. No cleaning and tenderizing required.
How to Make our Grilled Octopus:
You can use the following grilling method with either a prepared fresh octopus or with a precooked thawed octopus which we are using in our recipe.
The cooked, frozen octopus is vacuum-sealed in its own juices and maintains all the flavor of a freshly cooked whole octopus. The freezing process automatically tenderizes it.
- Thaw the octopus legs in the refrigerator in the vacuum-sealed package. Allow 5-6 hours per pound, or overnight. When ready to serve, remove them from the package and rinse under cool water.
- Pat the octopus legs with paper towels to remove excess water. Remove as much moisture as possible. A dry octopus will give you a crisp crust.
- Place the octopus on a plate, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Reserve while preparing the grill.
- Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for a hot fire with the grate surface 4-inches from the heat source.
- Place the octopus on the hot grill and cook for a few minutes on both sides until well browned, but still remains moist, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Transfer the octopus to a cutting board, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces for serving.
What to Serve with Grilled Octopus?
We are serving our grilled octopus with roasted fingerling potatoes, frisée lettuce and the preserved lemon vinaigrette.
Serve octopus as a Spanish tapas dish, a main meal, sliced cold in a salad or the Japanese way of sashimi this is good eating! If you like the taste of octopus, you will love this grilled octopus recipe. Enjoy!
SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:
- Grilled Lobster Tails with Garlic Butter Sauce: Lobster tails are easy to prepare when you split them down the middle and open them up like a book. Garlic butter sauce is the perfect dipper for these delicious lobster tails.
- Grilled Swordfish Steaks with lemon-dill Aioli Sauce: Swordfish steak, grilled to perfection and served with a Lemon-Dill Aioli Sauce.
- Grilled Lamb Kofta Kabab Sandwiches: Food on a stick! These savory Grilled Lamb Kofta Kabab Sandwiches in warm pita bread will kick up your taste buds and put a smile on your face.
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- 1 pound octopus legs, pre-cooked, frozen/vacuum packed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
- Fresh salad greens
- 3 tablespoons Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
- Salt/Pepper to taste
For the Octopus Legs:
- Thaw the octopus legs in the refrigerator in it’s vacuum-sealed package. Allow 5-6 hours per pound, or overnight. When ready to serve, remove it from the package and rinse under cool water.
- Pat the octopus legs with paper towels to remove excess water. Place on a plate, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Reserve while preparing the grill.
Start the Grill:
- Place a sheet of newspaper in the grill chimney and fill it with charcoal for a hot fire. Light the newspaper which will ignite the charcoal.
- When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, tip them into the grill and spread them out.
- Set the cooking grate 4-inches from the coals, close the grill cover and heat the grill for 5 minutes. Brush the grill grate with oil.
For the Roasted Fingerling Potatoes:
- Heat the oven to 425°F
- Scrub the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes until tender.
Grill the Octopus Legs:
Place the octopus on the hot grill and cook for a few minutes on both sides until the octopus is well browned, but still remains moist, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- To Serve:
- Transfer the octopus to a cutting board, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces and arrange on serving plates with roasted fingerlings and salad greens.
- Drizzle preserved lemon vinaigrette over each serving and garnish with lemon wedges.
- Frozen precooked octopus should be thawed on a dish in the refrigerator in the vacuum-sealed package. This is the safest way to thaw food, and it allows the octopus to retain all of its natural juices, which are essential for exceptional flavor. Never thaw octopus at room temperature or under hot water. Thawing time is 5-6 hours per pound.
- After it is thawed, rinse it under cold tap water and it is ready to eat sliced for sashimi, into salads or heated on a grill or skillet.
- Un-frozen, precooked octopus is available in the glass display sections of fresh fish markets. It should be dark purple and the flesh should be white. It should smell slightly briny like the ocean and not overly fishy. Rinse it under cold water and pat dry and use it in your preferred recipe.