Mediterranean Series - Oven Roasted Octopus
Watson’s Notes: Have you ever been to a nice Greek restaurant, or cute Tapas place, ordered their grilled octopus, and wondered why on earth should they be so thrifty and only give you two meager legs? I seem to remember that an octopus possesses eight legs...apparently not many when served at restaurants! So I decided to give it a try at home.
There is a tiny problem though...I don’t get along well with our grill...so I decided to adapt this recipe to an oven roasted version.
Warning! For those with too much imagination but a small appetite for marine creatures, this one might be a bit challenging in the kitchen...just give it a try and you will know what I am talking about.
Oven Roasted Octopus...Greek Style
1 octopus (approximately 2~3LB), fresh or frozen
1-2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste, about ½~1 teaspoon each
Chopped parsley, if desired
Thaw the octopus completely (if frozen), wash with cold water thoroughly. In the sink, prepare a basin with cold water (can use a pot, as long as it's big enough for the octopus).
Prepare a large pot with water, bring the water to a boil, gently lower the octopus into the boiling water, submerge and boil for 1~2 minutes. Turn off heat, remove the octopus with tongs, and soak it in the cold water prepared earlier.
This step is a bit boring, but critical, for achieving the best flavor of this dish! Gently rub off the black membrane from the octopus, you may have to use the back of a knife to scrape it off. When finished, the octopus should appear pink instead of black!
Prepare a fresh pot of water and 2 bay leaves, put the octopus in and bring to a boil under high heat. Cook under medium to low heat for about 1 hour to 1.5 hours (the bigger the octopus, the longer it takes to cook).
To check if the octopus is done and tender, use a fork to poke in the thickest part of the leg, it should enter without resistance. When it’s done, turn off the oven, and transfer the octopus to a plate to cool down.
At this point, you can already enjoy the octopus! Simply slice the octopus, and dip into any sauce you like!
But if you feel like a bit Mediterranean, follow a few extra steps and make a delicious Greek style oven roasted octopus.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
7. Place the octopus and sliced garlic on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
8. Slice the octopus, and serve! You can squeeze lemon juice and add chopped parsley, if desired.