Most home cooks won’t blame you for skipping the octopus in favor of familiar fare when you’re exploring options at the local seafood market. Even though the ingredient has enjoyed an increase in popularity among American diners, raw octopus with its beak and long, slimy tentacles, isn’t the picture of a quiet, relaxing meal at home to domestic diners looking to try something new.
If the only reason you shy away from this delicacy is because you’re afraid of turning your kitchen into a scene from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Chef Teddy Diggs of Il Palio in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has a few tips to master octopus on the grill.
Inspired from a first-hand trip to Italy, Chef uncovered this cooking method along with the proprietary braise (herb battuto) that yields a tender charred meat chocked full of rustic herbs and spice designed to enhance the rich octopus flavor.
“This dish was conceptualized while I was traveling the Mediterranean coast of Tuscany. I love the intensity and balance of the ingredients and the underlying simplicity of it all.”
Chef Teddy Diggs’ Wood Grilled Octopus with Passata di ceci is the perfect tasty dish for beginners. Soaking the octopus in its own seawater creates tender meat, and charring it over the grill imbues it with a rich, smoky flavor. The intensity of the octopus is balanced with a simple, silky smooth Tuscan chickpea puree designed to complement the meat. Chef Teddy finishes the dish with the final kick, a zest of spicy pepper to complete the flavor profile.