Baby Octopus Salad with Grapefruit & Lychees

OK, I know what you’re thinking… baby octopus salad… gross!  NOT GROSS!  These little creatures are so delish!  This salad is super refreshing and healthy, you’ll wonder why you’ve never nibbled on these babies before. And the grapefruit, mango and lychees are a perfect combination. Baby octopus can be a challenge to find but are in most Asian and Hispanic markets (fresh and frozen). You can always substitute the octopus for squid (calamari) which is more readily available in most grocery stores. Don’t knock it ’til you try it!  It’s so YUM!

Baby Octopus Salad with Grapefruit & Lychees
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh baby octopus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 4 ounces coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, roasted
  • 1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned (pith off)
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 8 lychees, flesh only, cubed or sliced
  • 2 Thai red chili peppers, seeded and sliced
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • Baby arugula for garnish
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add baby octopus. Lower to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes, covered until octopus are very tender. Remove octopus and shock them in a bowl of ice water until cooled. Pat dry and marinate with olive oil, salt and pepper for 10 minutes. Grill octopus on outdoor or stovetop grill until nicely charred for about 3-5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, coconut water, fish sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar and garlic. Add in the grapefruit, mango, lychees, chili peppers, red onion, and octopus and toss gently until well combined. Top with baby arugula and serve.
Notes
Baby octopus can be found at most Asian and Hispanic markets. You can substitute the octopus for squid (calamari) which is more readily available. Learn how to section a grapefruit!

 

Grilled Octopus with Leeks, Thyme & Shallots

I recently dined at a “to-die-for” Greek restaurant in NYC called, Ethos Gallery. One of my favorite seafood dishes was the “Octapodi Sharas” (grilled octopus) on their small plates menu. Wow! My mouth was full of sheer joy! I think our entire dinner party is still dreaming of grilled octopus! It was tender and juicy and incredibly flavorful, which inspired me to make my own version that I could share with you all. Don’t worry, it seems complex but it’s really not!  Where the heck do you buy octopus?  I buy mine at Whole Foods, but you can often find octopus at your local seafood market or at select Asian markets. This dish makes an awesome appetizer, but is filling enough for a main. Serve it with a side of Roasted Baby Potatoes with Leeks. Kalí óreksi! – which is Greek for “bon appetit!”

OctopusInPot_600x400Simmer whole octopus in a large pot for one hour until fork tender.

OctopusOnIce_600x400Dunk octopus into an ice bath to cool and maintain its color.

OctopusOnGrill_600x400Grill octopus until nicely charred on both sides. I used my stove-top grill pan!

Grilled Octopus with Leeks, Thyme & Shallots
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 25 whole peppercorns (green or black)
  • 1 large lemon, cut in half
  • 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half length wise
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 2 pounds fresh, cleaned whole octopus (head removed)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped (white part only)
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 large lemon for squeezing
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large pot of salted water, add peppercorns, lemon (squeezed), thyme, garlic, white wine, and bay leaves. Bring water to a boil. Slowly drop in whole octopus, tentacles first to avoid too much curling. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour. Poke tentacles with a fork to check tenderness (should be very tender). When done, drain into colander and put octopus only into a large glass bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again when octopus has cooled. On a cutting board, cut tentacles into off of into individual whole pieces starting from middle of octopus (keeping tentacles intact). Place whole tentacles into a plastic baggie and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to coat. Set aside to marinate, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic, leeks, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Cook until translucent. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Heat either an outdoor grill or grill pan on high. Remove tentacles from marinade and grill until octopus has vivid char marks, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle veggie mixture on top of octopus and squeeze with lemon juice. Garnish with chopped parsley. (Can be served warm or at room temperature.) Serve with a side of Roasted Baby Potatoes with Leeks.
Notes
I buy my octopus in the seafood department at Whole Foods. You can also find it at select fish markets and Asian markets.

Adapted from: NY Times

 

 

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