Grilled Octopus Salad

Buon Natale a Tutti!

No matter what you may do during the holidays, if you don’t embarrass the little ones, you ain’t doing it right!

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Well, it’s that time again. Time for the Feast of the 7 Fishes. Yes, I know I’ve been away for a while but I couldn’t let Christmas Eve pass without offering at least one suggestion for your Feast of the 7 Fishes.  Can  your guess what it is?

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That’s right, we’re grilling octopus. Now, there’s nothing particularly special about this dish. Once grilled, I prepared it in a salad much like Mom’s Calamari Salad. The reason for posting the recipe has little to do with the salad but everything to do with the preparation of the octopus.

To start, put away the copper pot; no need to boil water for dipping; find another use for those wine corks; bash something else against that rock in the garden; keep your cephalopod out of the freezer; and, save the salt rub for something with fewer legs. Instead, grab a pressure cooker and kiss those rubbery octopi good-bye.

In the past, I had my feet firmly planted in the “Cook ’em slow, cook ’em long” camp. Even then I was never sure if my octopus was going to be tender or chewing gum. And grilling? I gave up on that idea years ago. Well, not anymore! Cooking octopus now takes minutes, not hours, and the result is as close to perfection as I dared hope. Give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

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Grilled Octopus Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (900 g) octopus, rinsed and cleaned (See Notes)
  • 1 lemon, divided
  • red bell pepper, diced
  • jalapeño pepper, diced
  • red onion, diced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • Belgian endive (optional)

Directions

  1. Place the cleaned octopus and half the lemon into the pressure cooker and cover with water. Do not exceed the pot’s maximum content limit. Secure lid and heat over a med-high flame.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for use, maintaining high pressure for 15 minutes. (See Notes)
  3. Release the pot’s pressure completely, remove the lid, and allow the octopus to cool in the liquid. (See Notes)
  4. Meanwhile, gather the remaining ingredients and prepare.
  5. Once cooled, remove the octopus, drain, pat dry, and sever each tentacle at its base.
  6. If using the head, remove both eyes before chopping.
  7. If using the body, remove and discard the beak located at the very center where the 8 tentacles join before chopping the remainder.
  8. Lightly coat the pieces with olive oil.
  9. Heat the grill (pan) over high heat.
  10. Once hot, clean the grill grates before using an oil-soaked cloth to coat them.
  11. Place the octopus on to the grill (pan) and cook until the pieces begin to lightly char. Turn the pieces and continue cooking until evenly colored, Depending upon the grill’s heat and size of the octopus, this could take as few as 5 minutes total.
  12. Allow to cool before chopping into bite-sized pieces.
  13. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and gently toss.
  14. Either serve as-is or cover and refrigerate until dinnertime. Slice remaining half-lemon for garnish.

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Serving Suggestion

Although this can easily be served as one would any salad, serving it atop individual leaves of Belgian endive adds a bit of flair to the dish, perfect for the Feast.

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Notes

Safety features should prevent its opening but do not attempt to remove the lid of a pressure cooker until the pressure has been released fully.

Ask your fishmonger to clean the octopus. If you’re willing to tackle the job yourself, carefully remove the contents within the head. You can remove the beak now, or later as indicated in the recipe. Give it a good rinse and you’re set to go.

Cooking times may vary depending upon the size of the octopus. For example, I cook a 1 lb. octopus on high for 10 minutes, not 15 as indicated in the recipe.

Use as much or as little of the salad ingredients listed above according to your preferences.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

If you’re planning to serve the Feast of Seven Fishes, you may be looking for suggestions to complete your menu. Click HERE to see earlier seafood posts that I’ve shared.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Harissa-Braised Goat with Borlotti Beans

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One more thing …

Yes, I’m back. See you in the New Year!!!!!

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38 thoughts on “Grilled Octopus Salad

  1. so wonderful to see you on such a special day!!!!

    and yes, I think embarrassing the little ones is mandatory, and it gets easier as the years pass by… (tells Sally, celebrating the arrival of her second grandchild)

    MERRY CHRISTMAS, JOHN! Toasting to your New Year too..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Sally, and a merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family. TWO grandchildren!!!! As good a baker that you are, those 2 are going to beg Mom & Dad to bring them to your house where cookies and sweets will surely be waiting. Oh, what fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Merry Christmas and welcome back!
    I love octopus and am always pleased to find new recipes and yours looks delicious. There’s another trick in relation to tenderness – if you freeze an octopus it removes most of the toughness and I believe the Spanish have done away with beating them on the rocks in favour of the freezer.
    There may be an octopus recipe coming to my screen soon, but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to your goat!

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    • Merry Christmas to you, MD, and thanks for the warm welcome. I’ve trie the freezer method and had mixed results but not so with the pressure cooker. It took me a while but I finally listened to you an got one a little while back. You’re right about beans and soup. Couldn’t be easier and there’s no reason to buy stock any more.

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      • I will be trying your pressure cooker method then, as I’ve definitely got an octopus recipe on the boil. I’m going to try tripe in a pressure cooker too. I’ve never liked it, but I’m sure there’s something more to it than what I’ve had so far…
        Octopus is, of course, fantastic no matter how long it takes!

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    • Thanks, Debi. I must admit that I thought of you when I wrote this post. No one cooks octopus as good as the Greeks. I know. I feasted on octopus when I visited the Islands. I can rest easy now that you’ve commented. 🙂
      Hope you have a memorable Christmas, Debi.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Delighted to see a post from you! Merry Christmas! And what a post — I’ve never even thought ti use a pressure cooker with octopus. Maybe because I don’t have a pressure cooker? 😀 Anyway, genius idea — grilled octopus is SO good — your method sounds like a terrific way to prepare it. And I’ll absolutely have the fishmonger clean the beast for me — much easier. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, John, for the warm greeting! It’s dishes like this one that make me wish I had bought a pressure cooker years ago — or waited just a few months more so that I would have bought one of those new-fanged Insta-Pots. As for the cleaning, I’ve cleaned so many squid that cleaning octopi is no problem at all, although I have been known to let the fishmonger do it. Don’t want to see him laid off because there’s not enough work. 🙂
      Hope you and the Riffs enjoy a wonderful Christmas together.

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  4. Hello, John. I have missed you! So lovely of you to pop back on to my screen like Santa Claus down the chimney. Can’t say I’m likely to find an octopus anywhere near Wenlock, but like your pressure cooking style. All the very best to you for Christmas and the coming year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So good to hear from you, Tish, and to be “back in the saddle.” My how things have changed on the seafood front here in Chicago! For a time, the only place you MIGHT find octopus was in an ethnic grocery. Now, however, it’s readily available at most groceries save the very small ones. Same holds true for many varieties of seafood. I picked a good time to get a pressure cooker!
      Hope you’re enjoying a most memorable Christmas, Tish.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome back John. We missed you. Great recipe too. I have just discovered my pressure cooker – never used it until recently- and so will now go on search of some octopus for new year. Loved it charred but always scared that it will be too chewy. wonderful. Happy Xmas John.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Francesca. Oh, you’re going to love cooking octopus in your cooker. It is so easy and the octopus is not the least bit chewy. I hope you blog about it. I’d love to see how you prepare it once its been pressure cooked.
      Have a merry Christmas, Francesca to you and your loved ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Merry Christmas, John! Now I wish I had asked Santa for a pressure cooker!! We love grilled octopus… we serve it a bit differently so I look forward to trying your version. Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2018!

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  7. Welcome back, John, I’ve missed you! So this is a very nice Christmas surprise. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas!
    You could have guessed I always cook octopus sous-vide. It takes a bit of time, but it is easy and always tender. It is great to char on the grill afterwards. Your pressure cooker method sure is fast! I wonder how it performs in terms of flavor, because you did cover it with water (so that is where a lot of the flavor ends up). I wonder if pressure steaming, with only half a cup or so of water, would work.

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  8. A beautiful dish (and equally tasty) — northern MN is not a seafood mecca, so I may have to wait and try something similar while traveling! Usually I go for calamari or other grilled squid dish, but my son has ordered octopus salad before and enjoyed! Hope your Christmas was very merry!!

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  9. Writing from sickbed . . . so you see how happy I am to see you back!!! And glad a little birdie told me about this fantastic return ’cause it certainly was not in my mail: wonder whether I can blame Telstra for that also!!! Octopus: always . . . shall try yours soonest and come tell the tale . . . . Hope you had a very happy Yule and may both of us have a smiling 2018 . . .

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    • Bobbi!!!! Ohoh! The gang’s all here! What a Christmas gift to see both you and John! You: also ‘but read’ and do not post nearly often enough . . . . love and hugs . . .

      Like

  10. Happy 2018 John!!!! Hope you had a wonderful holiday! Years ago, I had grilled octopus and loved it, but I haven’t seen it around in years. Finding octopus in New Mexico is virtually impossible. Yours looks wonderful!

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