To some, staring down a plate featuring a tentacle, might prove nerve racking, prompting nightmares of Captain Nemo and his giant squid. Others might find the idea simply unappetizing or “unusual”, far exceeding their epicurean comfort zone. Thankfully, the octopus hate is on the decline, as you see it cropping up on menus throughout the country. It’s availability for the home chef is also on the upswing. At my local farmers market, I was delighted to find an ice packed bin brimming with tentacles from the local fishmonger. The joys of living in Northern California…
I adore octopus. And after years of eating it at restaurants like Milo’s in Las Vegas I was determined to replicate the delicate, chewy, charred magic. The hardest part for most home cooks when it comes to octopus is going to be getting up the nerve to actually buy it. After that, it’s incredibly simple to prepare. Typically you can find it in the frozen section of a well stocked grocery store. But I’d highly recommend you skip that option and go straight to your local fishmonger or farmers market and try and find some fresh octopus (typically they sell them by the tentacle).
- 2-3 lbs of octopus tentacles
- 1 lemon
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 bottle of dry white wine (keep the cork)
- 1 bunch of oregano
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 tablespoon of capers
- 1 bay leaf
- olive oil
- cooked white beans
- salt, pepper
- spicy sausage (spanish chorizo or something similar)
- thinly sliced small red onion or shallot
- In a large pot, add the 2 cups of white wine (the other two cups are for you to drink while making the recipe), half of the lemon, the whole head of garlic, oregano, wine cork (Italians swear by it) and bay leaf. Add additional water so the octopus will be submerged when you add it. Bring to simmer.
- Add the octopus to the pot, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 45-90 minutes or until octopus can be pierced with a fork. Remove octopus to a plate to cool.
- Turn on the BBQ to high heat. Or even better, if you have a sear burner, it will soon find it’s purpose in life. Crank it on and let it heat up while the octopus cools.
- Grill the spicy sausage until cooked through and remove from heat.
- Using a paper towel, remove the skin on the octopus by rubbing it with the towel, be sure to not rub to hard, you want to keep the suckers. Toss the tentacles in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- This part will go quick so be ready with those tongs. Place the octopus on the grill for 2-4 minutes on each side. The time will depend on the heat and burners, but you want a deep sear. The idea is to caramelize the tougher, outer skin and leave it with a nice char.
- Once charred, remove octopus and set aside. Assemble plates by adding a small amount of the white beans to the center of the plate. Slice both the octopus and sausage and add to the plate. Dress plates with olive oil, lemon juice, capers, oregano, parsley and red onions and season with salt and pepper.