On Sunday, I picked up a 2.5 lb octopus from the fish guy at the Larchmont Farmer’s Market. I looooove octopus, but had never tackled one on home turf before. The raw specimen is really gross, I’m just going to put that out there. Here it is in our sink. This is when I pleaded with my husband to deal with it.
But neither my husband nor I knew what the hell an octopus “beak” was—and we were supposed to remove it, so we panicked we called our friend Hugh, who came right over. Okay, so that little mouth-thing on the belly of the octopus is the beak. Hugh plucked it right out, and I felt really dumb for having called in the first place but relieved that I didn’t have to deal—this time anyway.
So then consulting a recipe for Octopus and Potato Salad in Mario Batali’s Italian Grill cookbook, we threw six cloves of garlic, a few chiles de arbol and two wine corks (which Batali swears help tenderize the octopus) and our de-beaked octopus into a pot of boiling water and then simmered for about 90 minutes.
After octopus is tender (test with a knife), remove from heat and drain and allow to cool. Meanwhile, bring 4-5 Yukon Gold potatoes to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Peel and quarter potatoes and put in a medium-sized bowl. Toss with the following: 1/2 cup olive oil, 4 thinly sliced scallions, a thinly sliced red onion, grated zest and juice of two lemons, and a cup of pitted kalamata olives. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle octopus with olive oil on both sides and grill over the hottest part of the grill for 9 minutes until nicely charred, then flip and cook for another 8 minutes.
Cut octopus into 1.5-inch pieces and add to potato salad and gently toss. Serve warm or at room temperature. The results were seriously delicious…smoky, charred, meaty, zesty, so good that I’ll even deal with the beak next time. Maybe.