I think I can safely say that Greek Marinated Octopus is a dish, that's fit for a king. Or a Meze as we call it in Greece. Octopus is such a flavorful and unique ingredient that doesn't really need much in order to produce a delicious dish. In this recipe, it's simply marinated in vinegar and olive oil and flavored with oregano. And that's all it really needs to shine. The vinegar softens its meat and the olive oil and oregano give a nice Mediterranean flavor. Truly Divine or 'Theiko' 'Θεικό'!
The Best Greek Meze
Greek Marinated Octopus is THE MEZE for ouzo. It's on one of those small plates you will find on a table by the sea at a Greek taverna. With a bunch of old guys with mustaches sitting around drinking their ouzo, and talking 'a bit' loud. And boy, does ouzo need some MEZE...
Only two sips of this spirit and I'm down. I guess that's why they have all these Meze dishes that go with it. I remember one time an old lady sitting on our taverna and drinking about 5-6 glasses of ouzo with lemonade. It was the first time she tried ouzo and really liked it. She was of some age and I was wondering how she could handle so much Ouzo. Well, it turned out she couldn't. The moment she tried to stand from her seat she fell right back down.
How To Make
When we refer to marinated octopus, don't think of long times in jars or anything like that. All it needs is to be boiled along with some vinegar to become tender. And then you add the extra vinegar on top, along with some olive oil and oregano. There, you get that marinated flavor in no time. There are only two things to keep in mind when cooking octopus.
Firstly, octopus requires to be cooked for quite some time in order to get tender. And meanwhile, keep an eye on that pot to make sure there is enough water for the octopus to cook properly. To tell if it's done, prick it with a knife to see if it's tender enough.
The best time to get the octopus out of the pot is when it's tender enough but right before its skin starts to come off.
No Need To Season With Salt
We usually do not add any salt when cooking octopus. In most cases, it's salty enough on its own. But that's something that has to do with the seawater out of where it was fished. And also its size.
Usually, when I cook an octopus that was fished locally, I never add salt. If I cook a store-bought, frozen one, it sometimes needs salt if it's big in size (more than 2 kg). So, when cooking octopus, leave the salt for the end. Taste the octopus first, before adding any salt. Chances are it won't need any.
To conclude, it may be a bit expensive as an ingredient but there is a reason for that. Its amazing flavor. If there is a special gathering coming up, keep this Marinated Octopus Recipe in mind. And if you are like me and cannot enjoy it together with some ouzo, try a dry white wine and some olives. Pure magic!
SERVE WITH ↓
Serve as a Meze together with other small plates and seafood dishes such as:
- Taramasalata (Carp Roe Dip)
- Simple Steamed Clams In White Wine & Garlic
- Skordalia (Garlic & Potato Dip)
- Fava Dip (Yellow-Split Peas)
- Marinated Tomato Salad With Herbs
- Greek Salad
Greek Marinated Octopus In Vinegar (Htapodi Ksydato)
- 1-1.5 kg (2.2 - 3.3 pound) octopus
- 14 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- ground pepper
- OPTIONAL: ½ garlic clove minced
- Kalamata olives to serve with
- Boil the octopus. Add the octopus to a large cooking pot and cover with 2 liters of water. Add also 10 tablespoons of vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Or until tender enough when you prick it with a knife.
- Cool the octopus. Remove the octopus from the pot with a slotted spoon and or cooking thongs. Set aside on a plate to cool down to room temperature.
- Cut it. You can cut the octopus into larger pieces simply by separating the legs from its body. Or cut into smaller pieces. Slice thinly (½ cm / ¼ inch) the thicker parts of the legs and leave the thinner parts as is. Remove everything from inside the head and slice or cut it also.
- Marinate. Place the octopus in a food container or a serving plate if you're planning on serving it on the same day. Drizzle with the remaining 4 tablespoons of vinegar, oregano, and olive oil. Season lightly with pepper. Leave to marinate for 2 hours or ideally overnight. OPTIONAL: You can also mix in the garlic at this point.
- Store it. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight food container for up to a week. Ideally, it should be submerged in vinegar and olive oil if necessary add an extra drizzle of olive oil to cover it.
- Serve with Kalamata olives and some crusty grilled bread.
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