Grilled Octopus is delicious seafood that you can simply find at any fish restaurant in Turkey. We call it ‘Izgara Ahtapot’ in Turkish. As Turkey is surrounded by 3 seas, we are so lucky to reach this magnificent taste whenever we want.
By nature, Octopuses have no bones but they have thick and hard muscles which need to be tenderized. The first thing fishermen do in Turkey when they catch an octopus is to keep beating it on rocks or if there are no rocks around, on the pier for about 50 – 70 times to tenderize the Octopus hard muscles.
Most of us prefer to eat Octopus in restaurants instead of cooking it by ourselves. The idea of cleaning an Octopus may seem challenging or intimidating; however, it is not that difficult as it is seen. Once you get used to it, you will be able to cook various dishes with Octopus such as soups, salads, and even a main dish. In Turkey, we prefer to eat it as a meze or main dish.
If you don’t want to clean it by yourself, you can ask your local fish market to do it for you or you can buy frozen and processed ones. If you want to challenge yourself, I recommend you to watch the below short video. I watched it too at my first trial and it helped me a lot.
Where to eat Grilled Octopus?
I love seafood very much. You may notice from one of the previous posts that I am living in Ankara city, the capital city of Turkey and it is not located nearby the seashore. Ankara city is located in the heart of Anatolia and the closest sea is about 450 km away from us.
Since I know myself, people say that you can find the freshest seafood in Ankara city. I always wonder that how can you eat the freshest seafood in a city that has no seaside. Then I learned that seafood also needs to be getting rest at least 4 to 6 hours before you cook as well as the red meat needs to be getting rest for about 8 to 24 hours before you cook.
As I mention above, Ankara is 450 km away from the seashore and once the fisherman catches fish or any other seafood; it takes 4 to 6 hours to arrive in Ankara city. So during that time, the seafood gets to rest and we are able to eat the freshest seafood. So before you cook seafood, make sure that it gets rest about 4 to 6 hours.
Generally, I am giving ‘where to eat’ suggestions from the hometown of that specific dish; however, this time I will suggest a restaurant from my city. ‘Yelken’ restaurant is one of the best seafood restaurants in Ankara. They have an amazing seafood menu and Grilled Octopus has its special spot on that menu. If you stop by in Ankara city for some reason, knock on their door to taste this delicious seafood.
- 1 kg Medium size Octopus (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tbsp vinegar of grapes
- 3 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 juice of lemon
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place the cleaned octopus in a pot and cover with enough water. Add the bay leaf and vinegar of grapes to the pot. Bring to a boil and boil it for 30 minutes.
Remove octopus from the hot water, rinse very well and place it in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add minced garlic and let it cool and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
Slice octopus tentacles and grill for 4-5 minutes per side, until they charred.
Remove it from heat and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and ground black pepper and then serve.
Tip: Garnish it with fresh parsley on top.