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I love the grilled octopus that I have eaten in Greece- tender, succulent, slightly charred and very tasty. I have to confess I was a bit worried the first time I cooked octopus at home. They are rarely sold in supermarkets in England but Morrisons are the exception. Sadly, where I live there are no more old fashioned fishmongers left.
I hear so many negative comments about octopus being rubbery or chewy. The most likely reason for this is that the octopus as it is [raw, dead] is very watery and you need to get rid of this water first or the end result will be rubbery. The traditional method is to hang the beast up to dry and allow the water to evaporate under the sun, or to tenderise it by beating it. I have also heard freezing it helps too but a speedy and effective way is to braise it quickly to get rid of the excess liquid.
I bought a whole octopus, it was not expensive but it did mean that I had to prepare it first which meant cutting off its head and beak! Oh YUK!
I used the video below as my guide to prepare the octopus and did not find the process too complicated. However, I did deviate a little from the rest of the instructions regarding the cooking. So read on and follow my instructions below or choose to follow the instructions in the video- it’s up to you!
Cooking – braising and boiling:
After you have prepared your octopus you need to get rid of the excess water from the animal to ensure a nice tender end result. Pop the prepared octopus into a pot and braise it for about 8 minutes over a high heat, turning the octopus once. The octopus will have turned a nice pink colour and already looks a little less blubbery and more appealing. Then take it out [using the handle of a wooden spoon works well] and let it rest.
Add water to the same pot, bring it to a rolling boil, return the octopus and boil it until it is tender. This takes about an hour but timings can vary depending on the size of the beasty. You can season it at this stage and serve now but I like my octopus grilled on the barbie meaning there is one final cooking stage to go.
Fish [haha] out the octopus out of the pot and cut it into nice tentacly sections ready for the barbecue. Toss the tentacles in olive oil, salt, pepper and rigani and then grill them on a very hot barbie, turning them when required and basting occasionally with olive oil. I like my octopus to be a bit charred as that is how I have had it in Greece. When it’s cooked, remove from the barbie. I sometimes cut it into bite sized chunks but you can serve it as is. Garnish with sliced lemon. YUM.