Grilled octapus

So I went to my local taverna and asked them for their recipe. And in typical Greek fashion, I was given a mini-master class in Octopus cooking by the head chef himself! I was surprised to discover that there is really not that much into it. Boil it till done but still “crunchy”, fry it for that extra crispiness and deglaze with some fresh Mediterranean spices and ouzo! And oh my what a delight it turned out to be!

So if you miss your summer holidays, this extra special Greek style octopus recipe will transport you straight to your favorite island! Enjoy!

The Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 2 hrs


  • 2 lb fresh or frozen octopus
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) balsamic vinegar

For the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped capers
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. If you are using frozen octopus, defrost it completely in the fridge overnight. 2 lb fresh or frozen octopus
  2. Rinse your octopus well under cool running water.
  3. Place your octopus in a large pot.  Add the allspice berries, garlic, bay leaves, and fresh thyme.  Add enough water to just cover the octopus. 5 allspice berries, 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, 2 bay leaves, 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium.  Cook, covered, for approximately 30 – 40 minutes.  The octopus is done when the skirt (the part of the octopus which connects the legs to the head) can easily be pierced by a sharp knife. Remove from the heat and add 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar to the cooking liquid.  Allow the octopus to steep in this liquid until it comes to room temperature.  You can also keep it in the refrigerator until the next day.1/4 cup (60 mL) balsamic vinegar
  5. Remove the octopus from the cooking liquid and set aside.
  6. Prepare your marinade.  In a large bowl or measuring cup, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, lemon juice, capers, garlic, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.  Mix well and set aside.1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil, 1/2 cup (125 ml) balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped capers, 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped, 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. Meanwhile, prepare your grill.  Chop up the octopus into 3 sections, the head, and two sections of 4 legs each.  This will make it easier for you to grill the octopus, without being concerned that you will lose any legs through the grate of the grill.  When your grill is hot, place the octopus on it.  Remember, it is already cooked; you are simply warming it up, and getting some nice char marks on the octopus.  This should take only a few minutes per side. Any longer and you risk over-cooking the octopus.
  8. Remove the octopus from the grill, place it in a bowl, and pour the marinade over it.  Take a piece at a time, cut into bite size pieces, and return to the marinade. Toss well.  There should be enough marinade to coat the octopus very well.  Allow it to sit in the marinade for at least 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
  9. Serve sprinkled with some additional chopped parsley if desired, and a wedge of lemon.