Oktapodi sta Karvouna
Category: Antipasto, Meze, Tapas, and Hors d'Oeuvres
Difficulty: Medium Difficulty
The earliest representation with which I am familiar of what appears to be a Greek octopus trap is from a cup interior attributed to the sixth-century B. C. Athenian vase-painter known as the Ambrosios Painter held by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. A naked boy perches on a rock holding a fishing pole in one hand, a creel in the other, and below the water line is an octopus trap luring the nearby octopus. In Greece, grilled octopus is typically made during Lent because of the proscription against eating of meat. Properly cooked octopus can be as tender as scampi, and as delicious.
Yield: Makes 4 meze servings
Preparation Time: 1 day plus 1 hour
One 2-to-3 pound octopus, cleaned
1 cup white wine vinegar
For the marinade
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
Salt to taste
For the garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1. Wash and clean the octopus if this has not already been done. Put the octopus in a medium-size nonreactive pot, cover with water, and add the vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain and wash well in cold water, peeling off the skin.
2. Place the octopus in a large, deep bowl. Mix the marinade ingredients and pour into the bowl. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 24 hours, turning occasionally.
3. Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill on medium for 20 minutes.
4. Place the whole octopus on the hot grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes a side, basting all the time with the marinade. Remove to a serving platter, drizzle some olive oil over, sprinkle with oregano and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]