Grilled Octopus | Polpo alla Griglia

Octopus is a prepared frequently in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. In this recipe, the octopus will be tenderized by using a classic method of dipping it into the boiling water three times for 10 seconds at a time to help tenderize the tentacles. Once cooked, it will marinate and finish on the grill for an unbeatable, fresh flavor. You can also prep this the day before to make for an easy dish for guests. This can be served as an appetizer or as an entrée and is sure to impress.

Grilled Octopus | Polpo alla Griglia

  • Servings: 3-4 people
  • Difficulty: medium
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  • 1 whole 3 lb octopus
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley, divided
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
  • Arugula, for plating


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.
  2. In a large ziploc bag, or deep baking dish, prepare your marinade. Add the extra virgin olive oil, salt, lemon juice, garlic and half of the chopped parsley. Set aside.
  3. When the water is boiling, grasp your hand around the neck of the octopus, just beneath the head. Submerge the tentacles of the octopus into the water and hold for ten seconds. Lift the octopus back up – you’ll notice the tentacles have started to curl. Repeat this process two more times. After puling the octopus out for the 3rd and final time, you can carefully lower the entire octopus into the pot, cover, and let simmer on medium low heat until the octopus is fork tender, about 45-60 minutes. The octopus and water will be a deep purple color.
  4. Remove the octopus from the water and let it cool until you are able to handle it. When it is cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to remove the tentacles from the head and place into your prepared marinade. Cut the head in half and remove the insides until just the meat remains. Slice in half again and add to the marinade. Close the ziploc bag and remove air or cover your baking dish tightly.
  5. Allow the octopus to marinate for 1 hour – overnight, until you are ready to grill it. ** Preheat a gas grill or grill pan on a medium heat, and grill the tentacles until there are visible char marks, or it releases naturally from the grill, about 4 minutes per side.
  6. Plate on a bed of arugula and serve with lemon wedges. Drizzle the remaining marinade over top. Serve warm.

**If you are marinating for more than an hour, place the bag / container in the refrigerator. Remove it 20 minutes prior to grilling to allow it to come to room temperature.

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