Having octopus meat is an excellent way to enjoy and add seafood to your menu. As a staple food in many Greek tavernas and Spanish cafes, it’s now a globally recognized seafood delicacy.
The meat provides excellent nutrition. It is high in protein and low in fat. It contains about 25 grams of protein and about 150 calories. It’s high in vitamin B12 and omega-3-fatty acids. Octopus meat can be hard and chewy if cooked hastily.
The meat requires enough preparation time and expertise to get the sweet sea flavor plus the grill’s smoky flavor.
Octopus meat fiber is like a beef tongue in texture. The hard surface of octopus meat fiber is what enables it to move freely without any bones in the water.
For that reason, you must ensure that the octopus is well tenderized before you start grilling.
Overnight freezing of a cleaned octopus has been proven to tenderize it. The constant freeze and thaw reduce the moisture content in the meat, which leaves it less chewy when cooked.
After defrosting it’s still advisable to simmer the octopus in water for about an hour for more tenderization.
Continue reading the recipe below to learn how to grill octopus in a way that will impress your guests or family with the tastiest and tender octopus.
The Procedure to How To Grill Octopus, What You Will Require :
Makes four to six servings
- 2-3lbs of cleaned Octopus
- Four springs of fresh thyme
- One lemon
- One clove of garlic
- Enough salt to taste
- One tablespoon of extra-virgin oil
- Fresh parsley
Step 1. Tenderization Process
To avoid ending up with a mass of unchewable rubber-like octopus after grilling, tenderizing the meat is essential. After fishing, some fish-men beat the octopus on a hard rock to start the tenderization process.
Other people use the old wives’ tale of boiling the octopus in wine. Cooking the octopus in wine is not an effective method of making the tough muscles tender.
At home put your cleaned and thawed octopus in a large pot. Buy meat that does not have a fishy smell since a fishy smell indicates that the meat is already going bad.
Most fishmongers sell an already cleaned octopus. However, if the octopus is not clean, you can ask the fishmonger to clean it for you or clean it yourself at home.
There are various ways in which you can tenderize the meat. Firstly, you can use a meat pounder to beat the meat hard for around ten minutes on its head and tentacles.
This exercise will stretch the meat fibers and make it tender. Another method involves the addition of bottle corks into the pot when boiling the octopus. While
To effectively tenderize the meat, add thyme, salt, garlic, and a half lemon. Cover the pot and bring to boil over medium heat.
Gently simmer for 70-90 minutes in salty water, until the octopus becomes tender enough. To test if the meat is tender, use the tip of a sharp knife should be able to penetrate the flesh with ease.
Drain and discard the excess water.
Step 2. Prepare The Octopus
Slice the tentacles from the octopus head. Using the knife’s edge, scrap the tentacle’s sides except for the side that has the suckers.
Remove the purplish, soft skin to reveal the firm, whitish flesh. Rub the meat with a clean paper or dish towel to remove excess water. Be sure not to over-handle the tentacles too hard since they can break off.
Let it sit at room temperature if you are going to cook the meat within a short period. Refrigerate the meat until when you are ready to start grilling.
The refrigeration stage can also be used for further marinating the savory delicacy. Toss with ½ tablespoon of salt plus one tablespoon of olive oil before grilling for that fresh and tasty flavor.
Step 3. Heat the Grill
Make sure that the whole grill, including the grill grates, is clean before you begin cooking. Cleaning your grill before you start grilling ensures that there are no bad odors on the food. A clean grill is also free from germs that can cause food poisoning.
Most cooking grates are made using porcelain-coated iron for easy clean-up after use. Make use of the grill’s cleaning instructions when cleaning your grill. Use cleaning agents that are approved and safe.
Heat the charcoal or gas grill to high heat (around 450°F-550°F) for 10 minutes. Place the octopus tentacles or the whole octopus on the grill. Cook with the lid open while still on high heat.
Allow it to char on the bottom for around five minutes. Flip the octopus over and continue to cook it until it chars on the other side for about five more minutes. After that, your octopus is cooked. Let it cool for 3 minutes until it is cool enough for handling.
Step 4. Serve
Transfer the whole octopus or its tentacles on a cutting board. Chop into bite-size sizes and put them on a large platter. Toss with the other remaining lemon, olive oil, and parsley. You can marinate the grilled octopus for an hour or as much as one day or two before you eat it.
If you love octopuses and you do not know how to serve them, serve with bread plus some crisp white wine for the refreshing memorable flavor.
Marinate the octopus a day or two before grilling, and it will still taste fine. The trick into making the perfect grilled octopus lies in drying the octopus well before searing.
Just like other meats such as chicken, beef, or fish, if you leave moisture in an octopus, it will not have a good sear. You can sear the meat on the charcoal or gas-powered grill. A pellet grill will also do the trick.
While serving, you may eat your tasty octopus-like Greeks do by adding olive oil, pepper, and slices of lemon.
To make a whole family feast, you can add it to salads and serve it with different sauces to create several various dishes.