UPDATE: After posting this recipe I read this article on The Guardian and decided to stop eating octopus. Find out how you can make more sustainable food choices at The New York Times.
I love love love love octopus. It is by far my favorite thing in the world, except for maybe soft shell crab and salmon roe.
How to prep octopus for grilling
Any time you work with octopus you need to pre-cook it to tenderize your eight-legged friend. Thank fuck for Tony, who has great instructions on how to do this in the below video. I haven’t tried the cork, but the bread really helps minimize the stink in your house.
How to keep octopus in the freezer
Because very few people I know like octopus, or I don’t like to share, I freeze mine in single serve portions, 2 tentacles and 1 piece of head, for later use. It will keep this way for 9 months.
Octopus, Chorizo and Salsa Verde
- Large pot with a lid
- Hunk of bread
- Small food processor
- Frying pan
- Ovenproof plate
For the octopus
- ample water for cooking the octopus
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1 medium octopus cleaned by your fish monger
For the potatoes
- 1/2 chorizo sausage thinly sliced
- 1.7 lbs - 800 gr potatoes peeled, sliced and boiled for 5 minutes
For the salsa
- 1/4 c - 30 gr parsley
- 1/4 c - 30 gr mint
- 1/4 c - 30 gr basil
- 2/3 c - 160 ml olive oil
- 1/4 c - 30 gr capers drained
- 3 anchovy filets
- 1 T - 15 ml red wine vinegar
- 1 T - 15 gr French mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
Prep the octopus at least 3 hours ahead of time
- You can also buy and use pre-cooked octopus tentacles for this dish.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil with a bay leaf and 3 black peppercorns.
- Once the water has come to the boil, take your raw octopus and dip it in slowly three times, submerging it completely into and lifting it completely out of the water at 10 second intervals. This will temper the octopus and avoid it becoming to chewy from hitting the hot water all at once.
- Let the octopus slide into the boiling water completely. Turn down the heat to a bare simmer and leave the octopus to cook for 1 hour with a hunk of bread wedged in between the lid and the edge of the pot, this prevents your house from smelling of octopus.
- Turn off the heat once the hour is up and leave the octopus to cool in the cooking liquid.
- Cut the octopus into 8 tentacles and 4 pieces of head once it's cooled down.
To make the salsa verde
- To make the salsa verde, place 1/4 c - 30 gr of parsley, mint and basil, 2/3 c - 160 ml olive oil, 1/4 c - 30 gr capers, 6 anchovy fillets, 1 T - 15 ml red wine vinegar, 1 T - 15 gr mustard, 2 cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small food processor and mix until you get a nice gloopy sauce. Season further if necessary, personally I really like to lay on the black pepper here but don't think it needs a lot of salt because there is enough salt in the anchovy filets.
For the potatoes and to finish the octopus
- Alternatively you can have this with fries, but cooking potato slices in chorizo fat really ads a nice dimension to the dish.
- Preheat your oven to 150° C/ 300° F.
- Fry 1/2 a thinly sliced chorizo sausage in a dry skillet until crisp and having let go of most of their oil content. Lower the heat, remove the chorizo and set it aside on a plate. This should take 4-6 minutes.
- Place the plate with the chorizo in the oven to keep the chorizo warm.
- Now add the pre-cooked slices of potato and fry them in the chorizo fat until golden and crisp. If the chorizo hasn't let go a lot of oil you can add some extra olive oil. This should take 10 minutes or so.
- Once the potato slices have gone golden, set them aside on the plate and place it in the oven as well.
- Finally fry the cooked octopus tentacles in the remaining oil until the edges start to crisp. This should take 10 minutes or so.
To plate up
- Start with some slices of potato and chorizo on a plate, drape over two octopus tentacles and a piece of the head for each dinner and finish with nice drizzles of the salsa verde. Be sure to get a little bit of each component on your fork with each bite to complete the experience.