Grilled or Broiled Octopus
Yield: 4 appetizer servings
This appetizer is adapted from the dish at Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna in Astoria. To bulk it up into a meal, double the recipe and add an order of oven-roasted beets or sautéed dandelion greens, two sides served at the restaurant.
- 1 (4- to 5-pound) octopus, cleaned
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 lemon, halved
- 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced
- 2 large cucumbers, peeled (optional) and sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar, as needed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
1. Using either a knife or kitchen shears, remove each tentacle from the octopus head. Discard the head, and cut the tentacles into a few pieces. Add octopus to a large Dutch oven or a heavy-duty large pot, and cover with water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, and reduce to medium-low to low heat so liquid is simmering. Let octopus cook for 2 to 3 hours until very tender. (To check, I recommend removing an octopus tentacle and cutting it with a knife to see if it’s tender.) Remove octopus tentacles from liquid, transfer to a container, and drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over it. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. When ready to serve, in a large bowl, add tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion. Drizzle with vinegar, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper, tossing to combine. Cut octopus tentacles into pieces. Grill until slightly charred, just a few minutes per side. If you don’t have a grill, don’t worry. Warm a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sauté until octopus is warmed and slightly charred, a few minutes per side. Divide salad between the plates and top with octopus. Serve.
Recipe from “Queens: A Culinary Passport” by Andrea Lynn (St. Martin’s Press, 2014)