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Zaytinya's octopus santorini - I need you

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I dream about Octopus Santorini - perfectly braised and then charred on a grill. No one does it better than Zaytinya. I moved from DC to Seattle several years ago and I will always come back to DC just to eat the octopus at Zaytinya. Just got a fix this past weekend, but I'm dying to know -- how can I recreate at home??

Anyone know how they pull off this amazing culinary feat??

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Zaytinya
701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

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  1. I'd love to know exactly how they make their brussels sprouts with yogurt sauce, they're fantastic.

    1. Have you tried the version at Cava? Also simply prepared and uncharacteristically tender for octopus. I'm sure it's also a closely guarded secret.

      4 Replies
      1. re: monkeyrotica

        I had heard at some point that part of the tenderizing secret was to braise the octopus in red wine vinegar... but I need more details!

        1. re: renspr

          That sounds good! I've tried the old simmer-with-a-cork wive's tale with poor results.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            Cava's ock is good. In general, the trick w/ octopus is to either cook it very quickly to ~135F, or very very slowly at 190-200F (numbers from Harold McGee IIRC); since they have no bones, ocks end up having tons of connective tissue to provide support, the same way beef brisket does in order to provide support for the cow's chest (since cows don't have a clavicle to anchor the muscles). For the OP's question: once you've braised the octopus, you can then grill it up nice and crisp, but do it quickly or it will dry out again.

            (I've often wondered: if octopus is really the brisket of the sea, what would happen if you tried to apply other brisket techniques like smoking or corning to octopus? Anyone ever seen preparations like that?)

            1. re: sweth

              You've inspired me to do octopus on my Weber Smokey Mountain with olive wood.

      2. I agree, I love the octopus and brussel sprouts at Zaytinya. Can't help with how to prepare the octopus but I do know the BS are fried (maybe why they taste so great).

        DC actualy has a lot of great octopus dishes. Have you tried Kellari's? Best in the city. You'll need to try it next time you're in DC or maybe it's a bad idea because you'll be dreaming about it. Bar Pilar is also quite good.

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        Zaytinya
        701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        Bar Pilar
        1833 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

        1. I think I've got a good system. I bought frozen octopus at Hmart...small...yes, but still quite good. I'm going to search for a larger one, but the small ones work. I thawed, cut cleaned the octopus. I preheated the oven to 300 degrees. Then threw some olive oil in a lodge skillet. Heated it up nice and seared the octopus with some garlic. Mixed up some red wine vinegar, cheapo red cooking wine, a little salt and some water and threw it in the skillet. Covered the skillet and placed in the oven until tender (an hour and a half-ish) If you want it charred, you could grill it after the braise. I bet that would be fantastic.

          I also threw some chick peas and olive oil in the food processor along with the garlic that roasted with the octopus. The bean puree went well with the octopus