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How to Grill Octopus

Created March 8, 2017
A simple but different salad with grilled octopus tentacles over tomatoes, peppers and fresh basil.

I know what you’re thinking: Octopus never looked so good!

Okay. That might not be what you’re thinking. You might be thinking, “I didn’t even know you could eat octopus.”

Well, guess what – you can and it’s really delicious!

My favorite way to make it at home is grilled octopus salad with lots of cherry tomatoes, red peppers, and fresh basil. It’s perfect for a hearty appetizer, but honestly, I can eat a big plate of it as a full meal.

Before I get to the star of the show, let’s talk about what I served my octopus on. I made a really simple salad actually.


Just chop up these ingredients and toss them with some olive oil and red wine vinegar. Season the salad really well with salt and pepper and you’re all set!


This salad actually gets better if you let it sit for 30 minutes or so while you work on your octopus.


You can readily find octopus both raw and boiled. Honestly, if you can get it already cleaned and boiled you might as well go that step, but if you have to start with raw, you need to clean it (if it isn’t already). Just use a paring knife to cut around the beak and it should pull right out.

Then bring a large pot of water to a simmer and simmer the octopus for much longer than you would think. Thirty minutes is probably a good start. Octopus does this weird thing where it is very tender after a few minutes of cooking, but then turns to rubber if you overcook it. Then it turns super-tender again after that step!

That final tender step is what we are going for, so don’t be worried about over-cooking the octopus.


Luckily, I was able to find boiled octopus already, so mine looked like this!


Octopus has a subtle flavor so if you were to marinate it or something you would completely overpower the flavors. Just drizzle the octopus with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.


Grill these guys over a very high heat. As hot as your grill will go!


You’ll want to grill the octopus for about 5-6 minutes per side to get some really nice grill marks going.


When it comes off the grill, chop it up into thin slivers and you’re ready to go. My favorite parts are the very ends of the tentacles, which get a bit crispy.


I think the octopus is best when it’s warm so serve this as soon as possible over the salad!


Octopus isn’t a popular dish in America, but it’s seriously good. If you can get over the tentacles (and don’t worry – they don’t stick to you), it’s a really delicious treat.

Nick thinks this salad will really stick with you! Be sure to check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.