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  • Dean Betts

Cooking Octopus

Updated: Jun 28, 2021

Serving tender, flavourful octopus had seemed a secret which only the Greeks knew. In Greece you see people slapping them on the rocks and you assume that is part of the process to tenderise them. Then they served them chargrilled and they are perfect. I immediately think “ I want to do that at home!”


You research recipes and find nothing clear. For years the common advice became to simmer them in a pot of water with a WINE CORK in the water! I tried that a few times and the octopus was still tough!?


When my son Henry was cooking on a boat in the Mediterranean a crew mate from Portugal said, “We just sauté them very slowly in a covered pot with a bit of good olive oil, fresh garlic, an a pinch of chili”. So simple and they end up perfectly tender and full of flavour.


Use a heavy pot which has a tight fitting lid. Rinse throughly and rub with salt to clean the surface of each leg and rinse throughly. Place the octopus in the pot with 1/4" of olive oil, plenty of fresh garlic, and a few dried chili flakes. Do not add any salt now as that will cause the octopus to toughen during cooking.

Place on the lowest simmer with the lid on and leave undisturbed for about 45 Minutes. Test for tenderness with the tip of a knife inserted in the thickest part of the leg. Depending on the size of the octopus, you may have to cook it as much as 20 minutes more.


There will be a good amount of broth remaining in the pot when the is octopus is cooked and tender. That broth is full of great flavour, solid gold! Taste the broth and add water if it's too salty or strong.

Use the broth for a risotto or as a light sauce for grilled octopus.


Click HERE for 'Octopus Greek style' recipe

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