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Grilled Baby Octopus


Plate of grilled seafood
Cultura Travel/Tim E White/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Don't be scared off by the fact that this Greek dish requires whole baby octopus: The rich, meltingly tender taste of the marinated octopus mixed with the smoky taste of the grill makes believers out of skeptics. This is one of my favorite seafood dishes to prepare when the weather gets hot.

Prep Time: 24 hours

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours, 6 minutes


  • 1 lb. baby octopus
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 T. black pepper
  • 2 T. fresh oregano chopped finely , or 1 T. dried
  • 1/2 t. ground clove
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • Skewers
  • 2 lemons, cut in wedges


Thaw the octopus if is is frozen, then toss all the ingredients except for the lemon wedges into a plastic bag or a container with a tight-fitting lid. Massage the marinade into the octopus, and put in the fridge for a full day. Massage it every now and again.

Fire up that grill. This is important: If you have a gas or charcoal grill, it is vital that you add some kind of wood smoke - if you fail to do this, the dish becomes far less interesting. I will typically soak hickory sawdust overnight and then dump it into a makeshift bowl made from heavy-duty foil.

While your grill is heating up, skewer the little octopi. It's a good thing if some of the herbs or garlic from the marinade sticks to the octopus, but not essential.

Grill over the smoky fire - covered - for 3 minutes, then turn them over and grill for 3 minutes more.

Serve while still hot with the lemon wedges on the side.

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