Octopus is a staple in countless cultures, especially in Chinese and Japanese cuisine, where it is also eaten raw. In other countries, particularly in Mediterranean nations such as Italy, Greece and Portugal, eating charcoal-grilled octopus is also very common. It is also served in restaurants all over Spain, where its popularity and availability have grown exponentially in recent years.
Although you can find octopus at the fishmonger any time of year, it is best during the mating season between September and April. This is when octopuses come closer to the coast.
Nutritionally speaking, this cephalopod is low in calories and possesses high-quality protein. It provides the body with a large amount of minerals (iodine, phosphorous, calcium, zinc and magnesium, among others), as well as vitamins B, A and E.
Its flavor makes it a fine complement to countless recipes, but it is also delicious when grilled and served on its own. Here is the recipe to do just that.
Always use cooked octopus when you want to make charred octopus. This will ensure that it is perfectly cooked and won’t get overly tough on the grill.
You can use a charcoal grill or a grill pan on your stovetop, though the former will guarantee a more flavorful result. In both cases, add a splash of virgin olive oil to the cooking surface beforehand and light it. Don’t wait too long for it to preheat, or else it will be too hot and the meat will get tough.
Next, set whole octopus tentacles—don’t cut them up—over the heat, turning them periodically with a pair of tongs to ensure they are grilled on all sides. Remember they aren’t ready until they are fully browned.
To keep the juices in, don’t add salt until you remove the charred octopus from the heat. Coarse salt (just a pinch) is best. Once you have plated it, you can serve it with a little extra-virgin olive oil in a small bowl.
Octopus is sometimes served with ink, which is also edible and can be served in a bowl as a sauce. Indeed, cephalopod ink is highly regarded, not only in haute cuisine but in health-conscious circles due to the fact it has antitumor and antidepressant properties and the capacity to slow certain carcinogenic processes. When applied directly to the skin, it also has antifungal, antimicrobial and healing properties.
Charred octopus is a delicious and nutritious meal. This easy recipe will help you to delight your guests and make you look like a five-star chef.
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