The Greeks have been eating octopus since ancient times, and it can still be seen hanging on lines in front of local tavernes. In Greece they have the luxury of heat to dry the octopus like clothes on a clothesline. Here in Canada, we have had to adapt and create better ways to grill.
1 large octopus
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Additional oil and vinegar for drizzling
Place the octopus into a large stockpot and cover. Add the bay leaves and thyme. Do not add any liquid as the heated octopus will release its own liquid. Cook on high heat for 30 minutes, or until all the juices are released. Once the liquid is released add the vinegar and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced.
The liquid will splatter, so be prepared to clean a mess.
Remove from the heat and allow the octopus to cool. Once cooled, place into a freezer bag with the olive oil. Allow it to marinate for 15 minutes. (Note: At this point, you can remove the octopus and cut up to make a toursi – octopus marinated in oil and spices.)
Once the octopus is cooled, cut off the head from the tentacles just under the eyes. Split the head in half. Open the tentacles and remove the beak located in the center. Cut the tentacles into separate pieces. Note: most octopus purchased in a store is already cleaned and has any internal organs removed in the head and the skin removed. If not, you will need to remove these as well.
Grill the octopus pieces for 10 minutes to achieve a good char, turning a few times during the grilling process. Remove from the grill and cut into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and wine vinegar. Serve immediately.
Serves 2 to 4.