It may seem daunting, but octopus is worth tackling at home. Whether grilled or braised, the tender tentacles are incredibly delicious and can be served in a myriad of ways. Here, F&W’s best ways to cook your new favorite cephalopod.
1. Grilled Octopus with Ancho Chile Sauce
In this dish, the octopus is first braised in sherry and then the skin is removed to make it extra-tender before it’s finished on the grill and glazed with a tangy ancho chile sauce.
2. Octopus with Chorizo and Potatoes
This recipe is a smart, delicious, Spanish-inflected way to cook octopus. Dipping the tentacles in hot water before cooking helps firm them up so they hold their shape.
3. Octopus Turnovers with Spicy Creole Mayonnaise
Octopus can be tough, but it becomes amazingly tender when it’s cooked for a long time. It’s quite delicious in Jose Enrique’s addictive pastries.
4. Pan-Seared Octopus with Italian Vegetable Salad
Vinny Dotolo describes this salad’s genesis: “I originally wanted to do an octopus sandwich, with the flavors of an Italian sub, but the bread got in the way.” Now he sears the octopus, braises it in white wine until tender, and tosses it with chickpeas and a tangy mix of marinated carrots, fennel and celery.
5. Octopus with Black Bean–Pear Sauce
Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert is a master at weaving together unexpected ingredients, like this tender charred octopus with a sauce of salty fermented black beans and sweet pear.
6. Octopus Salad with Potatoes and Green Beans
When octopus is slowly simmered, it becomes delicate and tender. Tossed in a salad with potatoes and green beans, then dressed with garlic and parsley, it makes for a very lovely and satisfying dish.
7. Red Wine–Braised Baby Octopus with Black Olives
Gently braised in red wine until tender, this octopus is simmered in a rich, robust sauce that would be wonderful with a chewy, mouth-filling red wine.