We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Great Octopus Experiment!

Ever since we first ate grilled Octopus in Santorini, we fell in love with it.  We loved it so much we ate it numerous times while there. The photo above was taken at Mama Thira's in Firastefani on the island where they string out the legs to dry in the sun for hours before grilling them.  We also had excellent octopus recently in Porto, Portugal. Craving some octopus, we decided this week it was time for us to try our hand at grilling them at home.  Here in Venice, we see octous at the fish market regularly, but we don't ever see grilled octopus being served anywhere. It's always prepared as a marinated seafood salad.  But- we wanted grilled.  We researched several recipes and decided to try one of Mario Batali's. How bad could a Mario recipe be, right?  

The next step was to go to the fish monger to procure some octopus.  Mike went down to our neighborhood fish guys in Campo Santa Margherita and asked for a kilo ( roughly 2 lbs) and they cleaned it right there for him. To be honest we were not keen on the idea of having to clean it ourselves at home.

Unwrapping the package at home, Mike discovered he had 3 of them in the there! We put 2 in the freezer, and proceeded to the next step in the recipe. The octopus was washed (see above), then put in a pot of water along with a wine cork (this is Mario's method), and boiled for about 45 minutes.

 Here's our dinner boiling! Not a pretty sight!

 And here it is, just out of the pot, looking a little bit better!  Next step is to marinate it in olive oil, lemon and some spices for 15 minutes to an hour.

 Here's the octopus being readied to go out on the grill.  Grilling only takes about 5 minutes on each side. Mike cut the legs apart, we did not eat the head part.

 And here is dinner, plated along with grilled potatoes, red peppers, onions and some roasted cabbage.  The final verdict on the experiment- it was good, but not as good as we had in Santorini.  We have 2 more in the freezer, we're determined to try another recipe to see if we can improve on it. If not, I think we're headed back to Santorini.


Andrew said...

What's the cork for?

karen said...

Andrew- great question! According to Mario Batali, the cork is used to help tenderize the octopus. We gave it a shot!

Michelle said...

Not one of my favorite foods but I did try it in Greece.
And any excuse for a trip to Greece. I have friends on the tiny island of Antiparos. When you are ready to go back there I'll put you in touch with them.

Eric K. said...

We can give you some Japanese octopus recipes :)