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Octopus Salad. ” Htapodi Xidato.” ©

March 18, 2013




Summer  and “Kathari Deftera,” which marks the beginning of Lent in Greece, would not be complete with out catching or buying an Octopus!

This is not for the faint hearted! My boys were taught how to do this at a young age, by the local fisherman

and  by the time I got it, it was ready for the saucepan!

This recipe I dedicate to my two sons who taught me how to clean and cook Octopus!!!! And to my daughter who now is an expert at cooking it!

Have an enjoyable Clean Monday !

Καλή Σαρακοστή!











4-6 Persons





Preferably home caught Octopus, otherwise bought! Around 300g

3 bay leaves

1 onion

2-4 tbs  Wine vinegar

4 tbs  Greek Olive Oil

Sprinkling of Oregano

Freshly ground black pepper




1.If you are lucky enough to catch your own Octopus, disentangle it from your spear and turn head sack inside out by inserting your fingers through the opening. Remove the contents along with the ink- sack and cut away the eyes ! The fisherman who taught us how to do this, used to remove the eyes with his teeth!!!! …..A knife will do just fine! Turn Octopus over and remove teeth from mouth, wash Octopus well in the sea and choosing a nice large flat stone start throwing it on the stone to tenderise it. This is very important or it will not be edible. You continue at least 20 throws, until the tentacles curl up and split easily at the joins.

2. If you are buying fresh, the above should already have been done, but always double check for tenderness. Otherwise, frozen is another very possible alternative. I always choose the smaller ones, preferably pink! I would rather buy two of these, than one big black one, because they are more tender……..

3. Wash well, or defrost at room temperature, wash and place in saucepan, along with onion and bay leaves. Add enough water to just cover the bottom of your saucepan (as the octopus cooks, it will also release water). Very important: Throughout cooking, keep an eagle eye on it, as it easily runs dry and the smell of  burnt Octopus doesn’t go away for days!!

4. Initially the Octopus will be rigid, but, as it cooks and tenderises with the cooking it relaxes. See photograph.

5. For an Octopus weighing about 300 g it usually needs cooking for about 3/4 of an hour to an hour. Test with a sharp pointed knife, it is ready when it is soft.

6. Turn up heat and reduce liquid until there is about a tablespoon left. Then add the vinegar and cook rapidly for about two minutes. Turn the heat off and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Oregano.

7. Cut Octopus up into mouth sized pieces. If it is a large Octopus, remove suckers and skin. This is a matter of choice, but not really necessary when the Octopus is small.

8. Serve together with other Meze, such as taramosalata, dolmades, olives and soft crusty bread and of course OUZO! “Plumari” is the best!



Having cleaned and washed your Octopus as described in ‘Method’, place in saucepan with enough liquid

to cover base, together with an onion and three bay leaves.

Simmer with lid on for about 3/4 hour, checking frequently water level! If it starts to dry out add a little more.


As the cooking is completed, the Octopus tenderizes and relaxes in the saucepan.

Here the mouth shows clearly, from where you cut away the teeth when cleaning.

Cut up Octopus and serve in bowl with sauce and oregano sprinkled on the top.




Stin igia sas! Chin Chin!






One Comment leave one →
  1. John Tap permalink
    March 18, 2013 8:08 pm



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