As I am perfecting my Feast of the Seven Fishes blog, I just knew it would not be complete without a Grilled Octopus Salad. Honestly, I am elated by the results. Tender octopus was given a slight smokey flavor from grilling. After, the combination of fresh, crisp vegetables and a light and bright salad dressing sent this seafood salad recipe over the moon.
CAN YOU EAT OCTOPUS?
YES! Octopuses are edible, and incredibly delicious. When prepared correctly, octopus is safe to devour. However, ingesting raw octopus has the potential of making you ill. Having said this, in certain cuisines, you will find dishes made with raw octopus. Raw octopus is incredibly popular in Japan and The Mediterranean.
The only parts of the octopus that are inedible are the beak and insides. If you are purchasing a frozen octopus, it will more than likely be fully cleaned and sans the beak and insides.
For this Grilled Octopus Salad recipe, we will only be utilizing the tentacles. Instead of tossing out the head, use that too if you wish!
WHAT DOES OCTOPUS TASTE LIKE?
Honestly, the taste of an octopus will greatly depend on the preparation. The flavor of this unique seafood is not distinct. So, it will take on the flavors of marinades, sauces and dressings.
The texture of octopus will also vary greatly depending on the cooking technique. Once properly cooked, the texture of octopus will be quite similar to that of lobster. Chewy octopus is a sign that it has been overcooked. Slimy octopus should be discarded.
HOW TO PROPERLY BOIL OCTOPUS FOR TENDERNESS
Admittedly, prior to this, I had never even attempted to prepare octopus. However, I knew I wanted to start with an octopus that was already cleaned. There was absolutely no way I was going to “butcher” my own. After watching numerous episodes of Food Network, I knew I would need to boil it to achieve that tenderness, I so desired.
Place the octopus in the water by doing a kind of a “dunk and lift” method. You will see the tentacles start to curl up as they hit the hot water. This is what your want. Keep holding the octopus by the head and dunking a few times until you see the tentacles harden a bit and turn a reddish-purple color. Release the octopus into the pot.
HOW TO GRILL OCTOPUS
Basically, the only thing you need to remember, is NOT TOO LONG! The boiled octopus is already fully-cooked and tender. Grilling the octopus is only intended to provide a quick char and smokey flavor. A minute or so, will do the trick!
TIPS ON MAKING THE BEST GRILLED OCTOPUS SALAD
If you want to avoid cooking the octopus yourself (not sure why you would), you can purchase pre-cooked, frozen tentacles. In this case, you would just skip to the grilling part of this recipe. Or, you can even opt out of grilling altogether, if you so desire.
Here are a few additional tips to consider when preparing this incredible Grilled Octopus Salad:
- knife cuts (see photos below)
- allow your taste buds to be your guide (do not get hung up on amounts..add more oil, vinegar or salt as you see fit)
- serve at room temperature for the best flavor
- leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days
- allow to come back to room temperature prior to serving
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