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Aug 25, 2000 12:11 PM


  • d

Look, I know this is not a recipe-swap, and I am ducking already in anticipation of the marain I am about to unleash upon my head (actually, I have no idea how that is spelled) but I was carried away when I saw baby octopus in a local market. I brought them home and am staring at them, wondering how to turn them into the grilled wonders I love at Molyvos. Except that I dont have caper berries. I've run through Julia, Jacques, James and have been scared to death by Irma Rombauer. If there is anyone who can help (with length of cooking time, anyway), I would be greatly relieved.Jittery in Jersey

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  1. David Rosengarten did a Taste episode on Octopus on food network very very recently.

    I generally find Rosengarten to be a smarmy holier than thou jerk, but the guy does know how to eat.

    I linked this at the bottom of the post, its a greek octopus recipe made with red wine that sounds real tasty, adapted from a dish served at Periyali in NYC.

    It has quite a bit of ingredients allthough all of them can be found in a regular supermarket with the exception of the pusses themselves.


    10 Replies
    1. re: Jason Perlow

      I can attest to the goodness of Periyali's grilled octopus, so if this is really their recipe (it does have more ingredients than I expect are strictly necessary, such as butter) its a good one.

      1. re: jen kalb

        Phew! Thanks, guys, with your help I think I will have the courage to go on. For a little while there, I was feeling up to my eyeballs in tentacles.I did try the FoodTV link, having seen Rosengarten's show on octopus, but somehow missed the mark. Hunh, I kinda like the smarmy type, but maybe that's why I like octopus. Thanks again, I'm chillin'

        1. re: Deb Van D

          If you guys think the grilled octopus at Periyali is good, you should run all the way to Avra in Midtown, where you'll be so overcome by the grilled octopus appetizer that you'll order two more for an entrée. They do less to them at Avra, but in this case, less is a lot more.

          Also, a while back we were chit-chatting about Otafuku's "octopus balls"--Takoyaki--sold ($4-5) out of a window at 236 E. 9th St., near Second Avenue. They're these creamy fried balls of dough, each with a chunk of octopus inside. Well worth a detour.

          I think Octopus is like squid, in that you either cook it for 90 seconds or 90 minutes. Anything in between, and it's rubberized.

          1. re: Tom Steele

            to continue with the octopus theme, the baby ones should just be doused with good olive oil, salt and pepper, and grilled. As soon as they are opaque, plate 'em up, squeeze a little lemon, and go. Some things are best left to simplicity.

            there also is an old tradition of braising squid and octopus in wine, in which case you are supposed to throw the cork from the wine bottle into the pot. apparently it helps to tenderize the critters.

            Link: the chef

            1. re: Tom Steele
              Stavros Aktipis

              Me and my friends had the greatest dinner at this restaurant, The variety of fish is impressive,
              Both grilled octopus and grilled squid, bursting with seasoned feta cheese,were prima and pan-fried soft shell crab and Barbounia showed no signs of oil,
              were brittle to the bite, moist within and wonderful.
              I agree with you the octopus is amazing.

              1. re: Stavros Aktipis
                Steven Stern

                I imagine that you and your friends eat at this restaurant (Avra) quite often, considering you're a partner there.

                1. re: Steven Stern

                  Steven, one of the funniest subject titles ever!

        2. re: Jason Perlow

          OR, you could make the marinade in the recipe posted by Jason, marinate the little guys for a few hours, put them on skwers and grill. I love them grilled, and they're much more tender than the larger ones, which have to be beaten against the kitchen sink. My upstairs neighbor heard a commotion coming from my apartment one day and thought I was being bludgeoned but it was I who was doing the bludeoning!

          1. re: pat hammond

            Pat, most octopus sold in the US has been frozen, which tenderizes it. There is no reason to beat it.

            1. re: Pat Goldberg

              My behemoth wasn't frozen. I only bought a portion of it but it was HUGE. pat

        3. Deb - I thought of you yesterday afternoon while
          watching Lidia's Italian Table on PBS. It
          was all about octopus and calamari. She stewed
          a couple of octopi just in olive oil and their
          own juices. (It made me very hungry.)
          I'm curious to know the recipe you finally
          decided to try and how it came out.


          2 Replies
          1. re: christina z

            In a book called "Cooking Fish and Shellfish" there is a great recipe for Squid cooked with leeks and red wine", which I think would also work well with Octopus.

            1. re: christina z

              Wish I had caught that PBS show, sounded good--and right up my alley.
              I actually used the Periyali recipe courtesy of Jason, and it was terrific. As he had warned the list of ingredients seemed long at first glance, but all were on hand, and the prep time was actually minimal. The nature of the recipe, the marination of the critters, bought me the gift of time, too--which I needed, because I had become completely unnerved on Friday. I dont know where my Kitchen Moxie went, it has never deserted me before.
              I suspect that I simmered the little fellows longer than was necessary, but it was an experiment and I might make some changes another time--the flavors were wonderful, though, and came together beautifully at the end. The sauce was not essential, but added a nice finish both in flavor and appearance.
              I would also buy more the next time. What looked to me on Friday like something out of Jules Verne, after Sunday's grilling became a modest appetizer for one
              (one who had eaten a hearty lunch).
              Liked very much the picture of Pat bludgeoning the larger species in her kitchen sink and am glad that these were not candidates for that particular technique. Since my neighbor has just gotten one of those swell motorized razor boards, nobody would be able hear anything but that anyway--wonder what it would take to tenderize him..
              Thanks again for all the good information throughout this ORDEAL--it was worth it!

            2. B'lieve it's "murrain". I *knew* sitting through all those Seders would come in handy someday.