Mediterranean style grilled octopus


grilled garlic octopus pulpo al ajillo sofia plana food photography-2

Octopus reminds me of the Mediterranean… Of summers in Spain and visiting Greece.

Preparing an octopus from raw has always seemed a bit daunting , I thought it was really tricky, plus octopus are really slimy, but it’s actually not that tricky to make.

Ingredients  :

1 octopus (When you buy the octopus from the fishmonger, ask if they can clean it and remove the skin for you.)

1 cup of white wine

1 garlic head

1 chili

fresh parsley

octopus sofia plana food photographer

You’ll need a tall pot for boiling, as the octopus needs to be submerged.

Add the dry wine and 2 garlic cloves to the boiling water.

Now, here’s a little tip to get the tentacles nice and curly… Lower the fire to a simmer, and carefully not to burn yourself, dip the octopus in the water three times before submerging it fully.

You’ll see that each time you dip it the legs get curlier.

Cover and cook in the simmering water for around 45 minutes, until tender.

Now, you can very well eat it just boiled with some olive oil and paprika, “a la gallega” as the call it in Spain, but for me the best way to have it grilled.. So that the outside is crispy and the inside is tender… add olive oil, salt and parsley and you’ve got a winner!

But today I wanted to show you how I did it ” Al ajillo”, aka with garlic.

Cut the legs and put them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, garlic and parsley. Rub them well and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Then grill the legs until crispy. If you don’t have a grill you can do it the oven, pre heat the oven to 250 and grill them until crispy. Around 10 min.

Once is crispy, cut them in slices.

In a skillet or pan, heat some olive oil, garlic and chilies to taste. Add parleys and sauté the sliced octopus for a few minutes and serve.  A good side is boiled potatoes and of course bread… To dip in that glorious spicy olive oil, the Spanish way!

It is so good that we ate all 8 legs of the octopus in two days between E and I. Needles to say I’ve covered my craving for octopus for some time 😉


If you are not going to eat all the legs, you can keep the boiled legs for the next day ( some say even 2 days but they won’t be as tender ) , you can also freeze them after boiling for up to a month or if you are certain it hasn’t been frozen before you can freeze it fresh.



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