SPANISH GRILLED OCTOPUS SALAD WITH ORANGE AND BELL PEPPER

SERVES 4 to 6

Be sure to rinse the defrosted octopus  well. The membrane-like skin is easiest to peel while still warm, so do so as soon as it’s cool enough to handle. You can thaw frozen octopus in a large container under cold running water; it will be ready in about 2 hours.

1 ( 4-pound) octopus , rinsed

2 cups dry white wine

6 garlic cloves (4 peeled and smashed, 2 minsed)

2 bay leaves

7 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

3 tbsp sherry vinegar

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp grated lemon zest plus 1/3 cup juice(2 lemons)

Salt and pepper

1 large orange

2 celery ribs, sliced thin on bias

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2 inch long matchsticks

1/2 cup pitted brine-cured green olives, halved

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  •  Using sharp knife, separate octopus mantle ( large sac) and body ( lower section with tentacles) from head ( midsection containing eyes); discard head. Place octopus, wine,smashed garlic, and bay leaves in large pot, add water to cover octopus by 2 inches, and bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, flipping octopus occasionally, until skin between tentacle joints tears easily when pulled, 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours.
  • Transfer octopus to cutting board and let cool slightly; discard cooking liquid. Using paring knife, cut mantle in half, then trim and scrape away skin and interior fibers; transfer to bowl. Using your fingers, remove skin from body, being careful not to remove suction cups from tentacles. Cut tentacles from around core of body in 3 sections; discard core. Separate tentacles and transfer to bowl.
  • Whisk 6 tbsp oil, vinegar, paprika,sugar, lemon juice and zest, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and minced garlic together in bowl; transfer to 1-gallon zipper-lock bag and set aside.
  • FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
  • FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on  high.
  • Toss octopus with remaining 1 tbsp oil. Clean cooking grate, then repeatedly brush grate with well oiled paper towels until black and glossy, 5 to 10 minutes. Place octopus on grill (directly over coals if using charcoal). Cook (covered if using gas) until octopus is streaked with dark grill marks and lightly charred at tips of tentacles, 8 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway through grilling; transfer to cutting board.
  • While octopus is  still warm, slice 1/4 inch thick on bias, then transfer to zipper-lock bag with oil-lemon mixture and toss to coat. Press out as much air from bag as possible and seal bag. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, flipping bag occasionally.
  • Transfer octopus and marinade to large bowl and let come to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cut away peel and pith from orange. Holding fruit over bowl with octopus, use paring knife to slice between membranes to release segments. Add celery, bell pepper, olive, and parsley and gently toss to coat. Season salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

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