Classic mediterranean flavours include oregano, lemon, garlic and olive oil. I have combined all of these flavours in Mediterranean Inspired Baby Octopus.
Octopus has gained a reputation as being tough and chewy. Octopus is best cooked very slowly for a long time or very quickly over a high heat, anything else in-between will result in a tough and chewy dish. Octopus shrinks a lot once cooked, so bulk up your quantity of raw seafood to allow for the shrinkage factor. Most octopus purchased from a shop comes cleaned and ready to go, check with your fish monger if unsure. You could chop your baby octopus into pieces before adding to the marinade or leave them whole.
A trick I learnt about a while ago is to add some bicarb soda to the marinade to help tenderise the octopus. I have also heard of kiwi fruit or pawpaw being used to tenderise, but I haven’t experimented with these options so can’t provide insights on how well they work.
I recommend using normal olive oil in this dish, this type of oil is better for cooking with. Save your good quality extra virgin olive oil for dressings, drizzling or other uses not subjected to high temperatures.
You could cook these baby octopus on a barbecue, because it has been wet and miserable in Sydney, I have cooked mine in a very hot fry pan. Because of their unusual shape, you will need to turn them multiple times so they cook through. They could be served as part of a mezze platter or with a greek salad.
Mediterranean Inspired Baby Octopus
- 1 kg baby octopus
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon rosemary
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 3 – 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon bicarb soda
- Finely chop the garlic, rosemary and oregano, pick the thyme leaves and add to a bowl.
- Zest the lemons, add zest to the bowl with herbs.
- Add the chilli, bicarb soda and olive oil to the bowl. Stir to combine.
- Wash the baby octopus and pat try with paper towel.
- Add the baby octopus to the bowl and stir to coat in the marinade.
- Cover the bowl of octopus and put in the fridge to marinade. Leave for an hour or more, preferably overnight.
- Heat the barbecue or fry pan to a high heat.
- Cook the octopus in a single layer, in batches if required. Turn once the octopus is opaque and getting a little charred or brown.
- Transfer to a serving plate, accompany with wedges of the zested lemon. Sprinkle with salt. Your baby octopus is ready to serve. Enjoy.
What is your favourite Asian inspired recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?