Mediterranean Seared Octopus

Recipes

November 15, 2022

What do you get when you cross Mediterranean spices and flavors of exotic seafood? You get this seared octopus recipe; that’s what! And it’s easily one of the best seafood dishes you’ll ever make. It’s not for everyone, but you might enjoy it if you give it a shot. It’s been one of my kids’ favorite dishes for many years since they tried it at a Greek restaurant in Miami, Mandolin Aegean Bistro.

Seared octopus with an olive-caper vinaigrette, preserved lemon baby potatoes, and black olive caramel makes an elegant appetizer that can be served to guests at a fancy dinner party or on your next date night. It’s light enough to leave room for the main course but rich enough to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

HOW TO COOK MEDITERRANEAN SEARED OCTOPUS

To prepare the vinaigrette: (2 mins)

Put the sliced olives and capers in a small bowl. Add black pepper, salt, dill, parsley, and grated cloves. Squeeze out the juice from two lemons and mix them all. 

To make dill potatoes: (20 mins)

Wash the potatoes and boil them in salted water (Use 1 tsp of salt) for ten minutes. Take them out in a bowl and let them cool for five minutes. Keep the skin and smash gently. Add black pepper, dill, minced preserved lemons, and preserved lemon liquid to the bowl, and then toss well. 

To make black olive caramel (15 mins)

Take a small pot and place it on the stove. Start heating the water and sugar. Slowly add olives and olive brine when it starts turning into an amber caramel color. Cook for two minutes. Put off the flame and let it cool for 10 minutes. Blend well till smooth.

To cook the octopus (5 mins)

We buy our octopus already cooked and packaged. We’ve always been lucky enough to find a package at our local Costco. So all you have to do is grab a cast iron pan, heat it over a medium-high flame, and add 2 tbsp olive oil. 

Before you add the Octopus, pat dry it a little bit with a paper towel, then place it carefully into the cast iron pan. It might splatter a bit, so be careful; it will still contain water.

Sear each side for about 2 mins. Place on a plate. You can serve this whole or slice it into smaller pieces. Put the vinaigrette over the sliced Octopus. Pile the dill potatoes on the side of the Octopus. Serve with black olive caramel. A little side of arugula salad would be nice.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

This dish is effortless to prepare but packs a lot of flavors. The olive caper vinaigrette is the perfect accompaniment to the seared Octopus. It adds a delicious burst of saltiness to this dish. The preserved lemon baby potatoes complement the Octopus perfectly as well. And the black olive caramel adds a little something sweet.

You can serve the seared Octopus with sliced onions or feta cheese. You can spread a bed of greens to freshen the look of the seared Octopus. Rosemary, thyme, or other fresh herbs of your choice can be added while preparing the vinaigrette. Before eating, you are at liberty to sprinkle some more salt, smoked paprika, or piment d’Espelette.

GOT QUESTIONS?

Why should you try this recipe?

There are various ways to make octopus dishes, but the main focus should be to ensure perfect tenderness while retaining the natural umami flavor. Similarly, pairing complementary vegetables and spices is essential to enjoy this dish. This recipe has covered all these aspects. Give it a try; I’m sure it’ll satisfy your palate with pleasing flavor and texture.

Are there any benefits of eating octopus?

octopus is rich in minerals and vitamins and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are cardiac-friendly and reduce stress on your heart. Omega-3 is a good fat that does not tend to build up plaque in your arteries. It maintains your blood pressure and minimizes the angina attack risk.

Do you need to boil the octopus before frying it?

If you buy fresh octopus, you should boil it before searing it in a pan. Raw octopus contains a high amount of collagen that breaks into gelatin when near boiling. Hence, boiling is necessary to extract this gelatin into the water and then discard half of this water to reduce the amount of gelatin in the octopus. If this gelatin is not removed, a thick layer of purple goo will surround the octopus on pan frying.

What flavors go well with the octopus?

Using specific vegetables, herbs, and spices, you can maintain an octopus’s signature taste. Carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, squash, lemon, and sweet potatoes are some vegetables that pair well with seafood. Spices and herbs include rosemary, basil, thyme, cumin, black pepper, and paprika.

Does octopus get more tender when you cook it longer?

Yes, the octopus gets more tender on slow cooking for a long duration of almost four to five hours on the stove. At the start of the cooking process, the collagen fibers of these connective tissues make the octopus flesh rubbery, but with time and heat, it breaks down to gelatin. This gelatin is somehow responsible for tenderness.

Why does my octopus become slimy after cooking?

Your octopus becomes slimy if not cooked properly. Due to the absence of a bone skeleton, the connective tissues in an octopus are much more rigid than other sea animals or fish. The collagen fibers of this tissue will degrade to collagen on cooking. When the arm muscles lose this gelatin, they become rubbery and gelatinous.

What do you remove from the fresh octopus before cooking?

Wash the octopus under running tap water and remove its beak by gently pressing it out from the center of the tentacles. It will easily pop out without cutting. You also have to cut the eyes with the help of a knife.

How do you cook octopus so it’s not chewy?

To get tenderness, rather than giving a 20-minute boil, you need to blanch the octopus arms in boiling water for just half a minute. Then the slow cooking of octopus at 200 oF in a covered pan is the next step toward a tender dish. After 4 to 5 hours, pour off half the juice released during cooking. Uncover the pan and let it concentrate on getting a tender octopus in a flavorful and gelatinous sauce. Remember, you can also always get them cooked, packaged, and ready to go, so you can skip this step.

WRAPPING IT UP

Incorporating new flavors and textures into your cooking routine is essential, so you don’t get bored with what you make at home. This seared octopus recipe offers an unusual combination of flavors that will surely delight your taste buds while keeping the consistency of your dinners fresh and exciting each night!

LET’S CONNECT!

Are we friends on social media yet? Come follow along for more kitchen tips and inspiration. You can find me on Instagram @chef.rafael.gonzalez and on Facebook, Chef Rafael Gonzalez

If you tried this recipe and feel free to tag me so I can see your culinary creation! 

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Seared-octopus-on-the-plate

MEDITERRANEAN SEARED OCTOPUS


  • Author: Azra Parveen
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-5 1x

Description

The best Mediterranean seared octopus recipe that’ll surely delight your taste buds when served with an olive-caper vinaigrette, preserved lemon baby potatoes, and black olive caramel. 


Ingredients

Scale

For octopus

10 oz octopus

2 tbsp Olive Oil

2 Lemons

2/3 cup Olives

2 tbsp Capers (minced)

2 tbsp Parsley

2 tbsp Dill herb

4 Garlic Cloves (Grated)

1/2 tsp Black pepper

1 tsp Salt (To Taste)

For Dill Potatoes

1 lb Peanut Potatoes

1 tsp salt

1 liter Water

1/4 cup Dill Herb

1 tsp Black Pepper

2 tbsp Preserved Lemon (minced)

2 tbsp Preserved Lemon Liquid

For Black Olive Caramel

1 cup Sugar

40 Kalamata olives (without pits)

3/4 cup Olive Brine

2 tsp Water


Instructions

To prepare the vinaigrette: 

Put the sliced olives and capers in a small bowl. Add black pepper, salt, dill, parsley, and grated cloves. Squeeze out the juice from two lemons and mix them all.

To make Dill Potatoes:

Wash the potatoes and boil them in salted water for 10 mins. Take them out in a bowl and let them cool for 5 minutes. Keep the skin and smash gently. Add black pepper, dill, minced preserved lemons, and preserved lemon liquid to the bowl, and then toss well.

To make Black olive Caramel:

Take a small pot and place it on the stove. Start heating the water and sugar. Slowly add olives and olive brine when it starts turning into an amber caramel color. Cook for 2 minutes. Put off the flame and let it cool for 10 minutes. Blend well till smooth.

To cook the octopus:

We buy our octopus already cooked and packaged. We’ve always been lucky enough to find a package at our local Costco. So, all you have to do is grab a cast iron pan, heat it over a medium-high flame, and add 2 tbsp olive oil.

Before you add the octopus, pat dry it a little bit with a paper towel, then place it carefully into the cast iron pan. It might splitter a bit, so be careful; it will still contain water.

Sear each side for about 2 mins. Place on a plate. You can serve this whole or slice it into smaller pieces. Put the vinaigrette over the sliced octopus. Pile the dill potatoes on the side of the octopus. Serve with black olive caramel. A little side of arugula salad would be nice.

Notes

If you buy a fresh octopus, wash it thoroughly, remove the beak and eyes, and then boil before searing it in the pan.

  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Seared Octopus

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