How to make grilled octopus the Greek way
I have to admit that I have a soft spot in my tummy for octopus. Of all the different ways to prepare octopus, the grilled Greek version is my absolutely favorite way to eat this delightful sea creature. Every reputable Greek eatery worth eating at has this dish on their menu, and ever since discovering this dish in Chicago's Greektown restaurants decades ago, I have been religiously ordering it as a starter for every Greek meal. Deceptively simple to prepare, this dish delights all the senses -- from its smokey aroma to its garlicky tongue tickling zing, to the refreshing lemony acid infused dressing to the crispy charred crunch to the irresistible chewy texture -- I could go on. All I can say is that if you've never tasted this dish, you haven't really lived.
In the coming weeks, I'll be making this dish twice: once at our upcoming "Greek Sunset in Santorini" pop-up experience on September 17, and then again at Common Ground's Greek Meze Dinner cooking class on October 7 where I'll demonstrate the method from start to finish.
If we were in Greece, the process would be much simpler: go to the local seafood market, buy some fresh octopus and throw it on the grill for a few minutes, chop it up, toss it in a vinaigrette dressing, and serve. Since we're in the Midwest and we only have access to frozen octopus, the method is just a little harder. Frozen octopus gets chewy when defrosted and grilled, so the secret is to boil it for a couple of hours until it's so tender that it melts in your mouth, then char it on the grill. The other secret is raw garlic and lots of it. That's the Greek way (see full recipe).
Seating for the September 17 pop-up dinner is extremely limited. For more information about how to score a seat at this event, please join the popup_dinners_cu Facebook group, follow @popup_dinners_cu on Instagram, or subscribe to my email newsletter.
As of today, there are still four seats left for the October 7 cooking class. Full menu and registration: www.commonground.coop/greek-meze-dinner.