[Photographs: Deborah Mele]
Note: Once you have your cooked, tender octopus, you need to let it rest and come to room temperature, and you can even refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before grilling as well. For me, the smoky flavor of a charcoal or wood grill is what gives grilled octopus its unique flavor, but you can use a gas grill if you must. The grilling time is minimal, but it really enhances the flavor of the octopus, creating crispy exterior bits, while keeping the interior tender. To serve, simply cut the octopus tentacles, and dress with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.
Although I find it easiest to grill my octopus whole and then cut it into pieces before serving, you can cut it before grilling if you prefer. I like a lot of lemon with my seafood, so I serve it with additional lemon wedges.
- 3 pounds cleaned octopus
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup whole peppercorns
- 2 lemons, plus additional lemon wedges for serving
- 1 wine cork
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
In a large pot, place the octopus along with the wine, peppercorns, 1 lemon cut in half, cork, and garlic. Cover with water by 1 inch and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the octopus until it is tender when pierced with a sharp knife. (Anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.) Drain, and allow the octopus to come to room temperature.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, spread evenly over coal grate. Alternatively, set the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Toss the octopus with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.Place the octopus on the grill and cook for a few minutes on both sides until the octopus is well browned, but still remains moist, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Cut the octopus tentacles, place on a platter and drizzle with the remaining olive oil, juice of the remaining lemon, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or at room temperature with lemon wedges if desired.
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