I always have to hand it to my sister – she is fearless in the kitchen. Pat picked up some octopus in DC and we invited a good friend over for an adventurous dinner, lots of wine and stories.
Well, lets start with the very good news. Our briny buddy was cleaned at the fish market – Woo Hoo! We have both enjoyed octopus in a variety of different preparations but, after deciding that it should be grilled, we set out to find out just how. I researched on the Internet – let me share with you there are some funky posts out there for cooking octopus! We couldn’t beat it on the rocks as they do in Greece. It didn’t sound right to just sauté it briefly and then grill – visions of rubber bands were floating in our heads. So, we decided to defer to the master of scientific cooking, (Harold McGee), and used his advice along with some hints and tips from Mark Bittman’s video blog to turn our slimy cephalopod into dinner.
First, my ever-intrepid sis cut off the arms and swimmers. (I’ve spared you a picture of this step – but basically she just trimmed off the arms and the webbing around them). Next, she blanched the octopus arms for 30 seconds in boiling water, and then placed them into a covered, dry cast iron pot, for about 4 hours at 200 degrees. Look at the beautiful maroon juices it gave off! (She used the juices to boil some potatoes, which were served on the side in a beautiful Greek salad). Finally, a quick turn on the grill to brown and caramelize the exterior and a bath in olive oil and spices. Our fun and delicious dinner was accompanied by Tzatziki, grilled flatbread and much laughter.
Here’s a quick and flavorful recipe for Tzatziki, a Greek Yogurt, Cucumber and Garlic Dip, great with flatbread, pita chips or raw veggies.
1 Cup Diced or Grated, Peeled and Seeded Cucumber
16 oz Plain Greek Yogurt
6 Garlic Cloves, Minced or Grated
1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 TB Chopped Fresh Mint or Dill or Combination of Both
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a Drizzle
Place the Cucumber in a fine strainer over a bowl. Salt the cucumber lightly and leave to drain about ½ hour. Remove the cucumber from the strainer and place in a paper towel. Roll to remove moisture.
Place the yogurt, garlic, oil and lemon juice in a bowl and stir. Add the cucumber, and the herbs. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with oil and enjoy.