Although some people are intimidated and perhaps a bit squeamish to try to cook octopus, the resulting dish is delicious and not difficult to make yourself. With this recipe for Greek grilled octopus (in Greek: χταπόδι στη σχάρα, pronounced khtah-PO-thee stee SKHAH-rah), you can create an impressive dish without much effort.
Octopus loses a lot of its volume during cooking, so expect that the finished dish will look like quite a bit less than the original quantity. You should try to purchase octopus that has been cleaned, but if you realize it hasn't been, under running water remove and discard the ink sac, stomach, and eyes from the large head cavity. Remove the beak, which is at the bottom of the head where it joins the tentacles, with a sharp knife. (You will want to wear rubber gloves while doing this.)
This recipe uses a pressure cooker but you can also cook in a pot on the stove; just plan for a longer cooking time.
- 4 1/2 pounds octopus, fresh, or frozen and defrosted
- 1/2 cup olive oil (to coat)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon crushed Greek oregano (rigani)
- Boil a large pot of water. Place the whole octopus in the pot making sure there is enough boiling water to cover generously. When it resumes boiling, cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
- When cool enough to handle, rub the octopus with your hands under running water to remove the dark outer membrane. This comes off fairly easily, and if it doesn't all come off, that's all right.
- Place the octopus in the pressure cooker with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, seal, and when pressure is reached, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Use quick pressure release, remove the octopus, and drain.
- Preheat the grill. When the octopus is cool enough to handle, cut off the tentacles, and cut the head sac into 1/2 inch strips.
- Brush with olive oil (or brush the grill) and grill over low coals for about 45 minutes to 1 hour (test for tenderness). Just before serving, cut tentacles into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces on a diagonal.
- Make the sauce by mixing the extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice in the blender until it thickens (this takes just a few seconds). Pour over the octopus, sprinkle with oregano, and serve. For a different taste, serve grilled octopus with slices of lime.