Grilled Mediterranean Octopus Salad



Recipes I Love …

I love to cook. To me, it’s another platform where I can express my creativity and drive inspiration from. Sure, my bread and butter is décor and design but I have always had an equal love of discovering and cooking a new recipe whether I find it out of the pages of a book or from a new restaurant I’ve recently tried.

As far as I’m concerned, the way into anyone’s heart is through their tummy, so oftentimes that’s how I express my love to my dearest: I cook, and I cook a lot. The experience has come with its fair share of great dishes (and bad!) but that’s the fun part: It’s a real exercise you put a lot of love into and your family and friends will always appreciate the sentiment.

Given this is my first recipe post, I figured why not walk into it with a bang: Octopus!

OK, before you panic I understand your fear. Octopus can be an intimidating thing to cook, but rest assured it’s much easier than you may think, and this particular recipe has major street cred: I sourced it from a jovial Greek guy I met once who gave me the easiest tip to ensure your cooked octopus comes out tender, sweet and oh-so-delicious.

Here’s the trick:

* Buy your Octopus from your neighbourhood fish monger (local is always best!) and have him or her butcher it for you so it’s ready to cook when you bring it home. Or, if you happen to buy it frozen from a supermarket ensure you give it enough time to thaw out before cooking.

* Now put it in a pot with a lid on medium heat. NO WATER. Seriously. This guy swears by it and given he’s from the Mediterranean, I’m inclined to believe him.

* Let it warm slowly – hence the medium heat – and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Jiggle it around, but keep the lid on. Why? Heat sucks the juices out of the octopus so it’s actually basting in its own liquid. This will help soften the meat and tenderize it. In a word: Yummy! Once all the juices are reincorporated back into the octopus, it’s done.

* After about an hour, spike it with a knife and if the blade goes in smoothly like butter, it’s ready to take off of the heat.

* Cut the tentacles off of the body of the octopus and char lightly on the grill – it gives them amazing texture!

Now. You want this star ingredient to shine, so what I do is simply grab a frying pan, slice some new potatoes in half and brown with some olive oil and thinly-sliced garlic. Add a bunch of spring onions and let this cook before adding a cup of fresh tomatoes, a tablespoon of capers and a large handful of sun-dried black Moroccan olives.

Add the Octopus back into the frying pan and sprinkle with chopped Italian Parsley and make sure everything warms through.

Serve with a chilled glass of Mersault or Montrechet!

I served this dish up at my sister’s cottage this past summer and I knew it was something when my 93-year-old Auntie Marge loved it. She’s a tough critic 😉

Try this at home and please let me know what you think! I think your loved ones will enjoy it.

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