What you see here is not how I started off my evening.
This is how I started off my evening.
Tell me that does not look like a creature from the movie Alien. Or as my friend put it: "That looks like an alien autopsy."
I was convinced that this thing was going to come back alive and strangle me to death with its tentacles.
Ok, I will grow up now.
I did keep running around my apartment screaming like a little girl and throwing up in my mouth a little as I unraveled each long, gangly tentacle. I had no idea what or how I was going to work with this animal. All of my amazing friends on Twitter gave me suggestions on how to cook the octopus or get that smoky flavor that I love so much in octopus dishes that I order in restaurants.
I closed my eyes and said a little prayer before I lopped off each tentacle, one by one (by one, by one, by one...)
I swear, I'll stop soon.
After some research, I decided to cook the tentacles in simmering water for 45 minutes and then toss it on the grill and cross my fingers that I would be able to get a delicious grilled flavor on an indoor grill. I got some amazing suggestions from my Twitter buddies - indoor smokers, smoked rock salt from New Zealand, liquid smoke, Lapsang Souchong Tea - but unfortunately, I did not have the time to go to the store. So I just tossed it on the grill and hoped for the best.
As a side note, if you are a big into cooking or food and your are not on Twitter, you are missing out! The community of food lovers is amazing - and if you are ever stumped or need advice on a recipe or a method, ask friends on Twitter and you will have more answers than you know what to do with! It really is an amazing community.
Back to the grilled octopus. I just have one word to describe the final results:
This worked perfectly! The octopus was meaty and tender with a delicious charred flavor. The suckers were even slightly crispy - absolute heaven. Tossed in a flavorful sauce of lemon, garlic and olive oil and paired with succulent tomatoes and crispy, briny capers, the flavors of this dish are dynamic and pop right off of the plate.
I will say that this dish does serve 2, but it depends on who you are asking. What you see in the top picture is the whole dish. The octopus is quite meaty and filling, so I was fine with eating half of that dish for my main. Jack, on the other hand, wanted to eat the entire thing.
This is a dish I will absolutely make over and over again for two reasons: 1. It is delicious. 2. Because it is so fun to run around my apartment swinging tentacles and screaming BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
(1) 5 lb. Octopus (ask your fishmonger to remove the eyes, ink sac, and beak)
Lemon and Garlic Oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon flour
Olive Oil for Frying
1 vine-ripened tomato, diced large
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Boil enough water in a large Dutch Oven to cover tentacles. Cut off and discard head of octopus. Place tentacles in boiling water, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the lemon and garlic olive oil. Combine freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, and minced garlic in a blender or whisk vigorously until the sauce has thickened (about 30 seconds). Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over high heat. Toss capers with flour. When heat is very hot (about 350 F, add capers and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
Brush an indoor or outdoor (I used indoor) grill with olive oil and heat over high heat. Place octopus on grill and grill for 7 minutes on each side.
Remove octopus from grill and toss in a bowl with tomatoes and lemon and garlic olive oil. Place in a bowl and top with parsley and capers. Serve warm.