How to Cook Octopus | Greek inspired Octopus Recipe

How to Cook Octopus | Greek inspired Octopus Recipe

How to cook octopus couldn’t be easier and my octopus recipe will show you how exactly how to cook tender octopus.

I always start with a slow braise to tenderise my octopus, from there you can grill, fry, BBQ, eat cold, whatever..

How to cook octopus always seems to be cloaked in mystery and this probably stems from the enigmatic creature itself. I mean – just look at the raw octopus in my video and it’s straight out of Alien vs Predator!

Watch my video recipes on How to Cook Octopus – my octopus recipe:

So, how to cook octopus? Octopus or Octopi which gets it’s name from the Greek Octo-bothi (eight footed) is about as old as they come. Cephalopods have been in existence for 500 million years.

Besides a plethora of connotations, meanings and history the one thing I really know about Octopus is they taste great! The Mediterraneans have been cooking these eight-legged sea creatures for centuries (as have Asia, Pacific Islands, in fact pretty much everyone who has some water near them).

The usual reaction to eating octopus is that it is tough and chewy – not true. How you cook octopus makes all the difference.

If octopus is cooked properly these fluid colour changing beasts from the deep are tender, succulent and delicious. Octopus can be eaten braised, you can roast octopus, or serve chilled.

My favourite way on how to cook octopus is to either have grilled octopus or barbecued octopus, the contrast, of slightly chewy gelatinous octopus with a charred exterior is exquisite. 

The big debate on how to tenderise an octopus, how to cook an octopus without it being tough. For every nation there is a method they swear by to keep the octopus tender. The Italians keep their octopus tender with a wine cork in the pot, the Spanish dip the octopus in boiling water three times before submerging.

The Greeks have a habit of throwing their freshly caught octopus against rocks and I think the Japanese just eat them live 🙂

Actually, the way I tenderise octopus is to freeze it overnight. Most octopus you buy come frozen so no need. But if you are lucky enough to get fresh octopus, freezing it overnight or for a few days will break down it’s proteins and help tenderise the meat. Then it just comes down to how you cook it. 

Thinking about it, Octopus is the cause of much debate – how do you tenderise it? whats the best way to cook it? do you add water or let the octopus own juices do the trick? Do you roast or braise?

I don’t know the answer to all of those; but I know how I do it and I know that it comes out perfect everytime. So let me share how to cook octopus.

Fundamentally the way it works is whatever you want to do with the slippery sucker, you need to slowly braise it first. This will give you a tender, cooked octopus that you can then grill, BBQ or serve chilled.

Some cook their octopus in gallons of wine but I like mine quite simple to really showcase the octopus flavour.

I should note, I use Spanish octopus that usually comes in between 1.5kg to 2kg (same size as in my video above).

How to cook octopus:

  1. freeze octopus
  2. thaw octopus and clean
  3. gently braise octopus
  4. marinate octopus and eat, or…
  5. grill octopus / BBQ octopus.

My octopus recipe:

Ingredients:

Large octopus (1.5-2kg)

3 bay leaves

Lots of olive oil

Salt

Lemon

Garlic

Method:

Let’s presume for this octopus recipe, it has been frozen and now you have on your hands a defrosted octopus.

Step 1 – Clean the Octopus

Simple, give it a good wash in cold water to ensure all grit is gone and then cut the head off just under the eyes and remove the beak. Watch one of my video recipes on cooking octopus to see that in action.

Step 2 – Braise Octopus

Boil some salted water with some herbs (bay leaves, coriander seeds, few cloves of whole garlic) and dip the octopus in a few times to let the tentacles curl up (the Spanish do this to tenderise but I do it so the tentacles are nice an neat). Submerge the octopus in the water, bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 30-45 minutes with a lid on or until a fork can pierce the flesh with just a little resistance.

Cook too long and it goes mushy, too little and it is tough.

Step 3 – Marinate Octopus to Serve

Let the octopus cool in the water for five minutes then remove and cut the tentacles (leave whole if preferred and if grilling or in bite size portions if you want to serve it cold) and marinate in lots of olive oil, herbs (bay, coriander seeds, parsley, garlic, lemon zest), put the whole thing in an airtight container and store in the fridge.

To Serve Chilled: remove the octopus from the olive oil, and give it a little squeeze of lemon or vinegar, a pinch of salt and some fresh parsley (a few chilli flakes work wonders!).

Step 4 – Grilled / BBQ / Fried Octopus

If you want crispy octopus, whether that is grilled, fried or barbecued, once it has been chilled. Simply remove from the fridge and place under a super hot grill or on the BBQ directly above the coals and grill for a few minutes either side until the tentacles have just started to char (I quite often just pan fry the octopus).

Serve with a little chimichurri sauce or just a squeeze of lemon and chilli flakes. 

How to Cook Octopus so it stays tender - Octopus Recipe

How to cook octopus is surprisingly easy and my octopus recipe will show you how to cook octopus so it stays tender and you can then grill it, barbecue it, even serve it thinly sliced and served cold.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Greek, Seafood
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Theo

Ingredients

Large octopus (1.5-2kg)

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 250 ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 Lemon
  • 3 cloves Garlic

Instructions

Method:

  1. Let’s presume for this octopus recipe, it has been frozen and now you have on your hands a defrosted octopus.
  2. Step 1 – Clean the Octopus
  3. Simple, give it a good wash in cold water to ensure all grit is gone and then cut the head off just under the eyes and remove the beak. Watch one of my video recipes on cooking octopus to see that in action.
  4. Step 2 – Braise Octopus
  5. Boil some salted water with some herbs (bay leaves, coriander seeds, few cloves of whole garlic) and dip the octopus in a few times to let the tentacles curl up (the Spanish do this to tenderise but I do it so the tentacles are nice an neat). Submerge the octopus in the water, bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 30-45 minutes with a lid on or until a fork can pierce the flesh with just a little resistance.
  6. Cook too long and it goes mushy, too little and it is tough.
  7. Step 3 – Marinate Octopus to Serve
  8. Let the octopus cool in the water for five minutes then remove and cut the tentacles (leave whole if preferred and if grilling or in bite size portions if you want to serve it cold) and marinate in lots of olive oil, herbs (bay, coriander seeds, parsley, garlic, lemon zest), put the whole thing in an airtight container and store in the fridge.
  9. To Serve Chilled: remove the octopus from the olive oil, and give it a little squeeze of lemon or vinegar, a pinch of salt and some fresh parsley (a few chilli flakes work wonders!).
  10. Step 4 – Grilled / BBQ / Fried Octopus
  11. If you want crispy octopus, whether that is grilled, fried or barbecued, once it has been chilled. Simply remove from the fridge and place under a super hot grill or on the BBQ directly above the coals and grill for a few minutes either side until the tentacles have just started to char (I quite often just pan fry the octopus).

Recipe Notes

Serve with a little chimichurri sauce or just a squeeze of lemon and chilli flakes.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Join TheoCooks

Subscribe and get new recipes and updates straight to your inbox

Almost done! Please click the activation link on the email we have just sent you. Thank you.

Something went wrong - please contact us to get you started!