Recipe: Grilled Octopus
This year, I have decided to start publishing some of my favourite recipes on my blog. Alongside, sustainability and politics, I absolutely love good food. Blame my parents, who were significant contributors to the Slow Food movement in Western Australia in the 1990s and 2000s.
One of my absolute favourite foods is octopus. If I had to pick one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would be this. Other than the fact it is incredibly good for your health. It is low in calories and high in protein. It is also a fantastic source of iron, selenium and B-12.
Coming from a Croatian background, I grew up eating octopus. Most of the time, I had it cold in a marinade. It wasn't until I returned to Croatia that I fell in love with hobotnice na žaru (grilled octopus). My cousin served this dish at his restaurant Mareta on the island of Prvić Luka, and my soul was awakened! It was so simple. Just lots and lots and LOTS of garlic, which is important to a Dalmatian like me!
In the last year, I have perfected making my own hobotnice na žaru at home; although, it will never live up to my cousin's version.
Compared to other seafood, octopus is rather inexpensive. I quite often will eat the dish a couple of times a week, making sure I get to the fresh food markets early enough to ensure it is not sold out.
I tend to make up the marinade and use it for three or four weeks in a row, adding different ingredients according to taste levels.
Serves: As many as you like! You will need approximately 250g of octopus per person.
Preparation Time: Best to marinate a day or two ahead. Otherwise, a minimum of two hours to marinate.
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
1kg octopus (for a serving of four people)*
1.5 cups olive oil
1 bunch parsley
6 cloves garlic, halved
2 lemons, cut into wedges
2 long red chillies, finely sliced, seeds removed
salt and pepper to taste
*This recipe can be prepared with either large or baby octopus. Octopus is usually sold by fishmongers already cleaned and tenderised. If not, ask your friendly fishmonger to do this for you as the smell can be quite strong when cleaning octopus. It also gets quite messy (I have done this a couple of times before, and it's not fun)!
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Remove from heat and place octopus in the pot. Leave for one minute and tip water out. Rinse the octopus in cold water.
2. Combine the oil, parsley, garlic, lemon, chilli, salt and pepper in a bowl or container. Add the octopus and mix thoroughly.
3. Place in the fridge and leave to marinate for 24 to 48 hours. If you are short on time, a minimum of 2 hours will suffice. I find octopus is always best when it has been marinated for 48 hours.
4. Pre-heat the BBQ on high heat. Transfer octopus to a plate. Salt well.
5. Grill octopus for 3 to 4 minutes each side or until brown on the outside and still tender on the inside. Ensure the ends of the tentacles are crispy.
Serving suggestions: I always make blitva (Croatian potatoes and spinach) when I have octopus. I will be posting a recipe for this next month, so stay tuned! While the BBQ is on, I also love to chargrill a slice or two of sourdough bread (preferably homemade) to mop up the juices of the octopus.