Grilled Octopus with Potatoes

Grilled Octopus with Potatoes, Onions, and Pancetta is a delicious seafood appetizer. Grilled octopus turns out tender, slightly charred, and delicious tasting! There are two methods when making grilled octopus, and we have decided to use the simple method. Serve it as a seafood appetizer, or as a side, it will make an elegant presentation.

Spring and summertime are the seasons to enjoy some grilled octopus. 

This one is served elegantly with sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, and crispy pancetta.  Topped with a splash of capers, lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt, making this a delicious appetizer, seafood salad, or main course to enjoy! 

It’s fabulous! 🙂

Grilled Octopus with Potatoes by 2sistersrecipes.com

Don’t let this sea creature intimidate you.  I was intimidated by octopus for many years until I finally got the nerve to try cooking it and seeing if it is even worth it.

Grilled octopus happens to be one of our favorite appetizers and always order it at one of our go-to restaurants here in Charleston.

I found out that octopus is relatively easy to prep before grilling. There’s really nothing to it.

Just boil the octopus in water until the octopus is tender. 

You may be surprised to know that octopus is relatively inexpensive too.  It’s about $8.99 per pound at Whole Foods, and one pound is enough to serve 2 to 4 people.

Sliced grilled octopus with sliced potatoes on a white platter. by 2sistersrecipes.com

Since we order the grilled octopus as often as we do, I knew I had to ask the chef how he prepares it, and then, of course, I remembered how our mom once made it. 

I was lucky enough to find the octopus at Whole Foods and wanted to try it myself to see if I could duplicate the restaurant’s presentation. 

The outcome was amazing!  The octopus turned out very tender and flavorful, while the potatoes and crispy pancetta added wonderful textures and smoky flavor!

Grilled Octopus with Potatoes by 2sistersrecipes.com

There are Two Methods for Tenderizing the Octopus Before Grilling:

1.  Braising:  The most common way (and most restaurants use this method) is to braise it in the oven with olive oil, garlic, and parsley for about 2 to 3 hours, to tenderize the octopus before grilling.

2.  Boiling:  Another way is to simply boil the octopus on the stove-top for about 50 to 90 minutes (depending on the size) in water infused with vinegar, garlic, and peppercorns (our mom’s trick to flavoring).

When the Octopus is Ready to Grill…

  • Place the octopus directly onto your grill and cook it for a few minutes per side until it’s slightly charred and crispy.
  • Serve it with boiled sliced potatoes, cooked pancetta, and caramelized onions with a splash of lemon, olive oil, and capers. This grilled octopus dish is a flavorful seafood appetizer or serve it as a side.

The flavors are wonderful!  You can enjoy it warm, room temperature, or chilled as an octopus salad!

A white platter filled with sliced grilled octopus and boiled potatoes. by 2sistersrecipes.com

How to Make Grilled Octopus with Potatoes?

*Full Recipe Card Below!

Ingredients Needed for Grilled Octopus with Potatoes, Capers, Onions, and Pancetta:

  • 1 pound octopus (about 2 to 3 small or medium size tentacles)
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil- divided
  • 1 yellow onion – diced
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. cubed pancetta
  • 2 lemons, juiced- divided
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, boiled, skins peeled, sliced
  • 1 to 2 tsp. capers
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 green onion, sliced on a diagonal, to garnish

How to Prepare the Octopus to Grill?

1.  First, Place the octopus into a large pot with pour water over it, about 2 inches or more to cover the octopus.

2.  Add in 1 cup of white vinegar, garlic cloves, 1/2 of one lemon juice, and peppercorns.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer on low heat.

3.  Boil the octopus for 50 to 90 minutes, until the octopus is very tender when you pierce it with a fork or knife.

 

Raw octopus submerged in a pot filled with water and peppercorns. by 2sistersrecipes.com

4.  Drain, and discard the water.  Then allow the octopus to “rest” and reach room temperature before grilling.

5.  Meantime, slice potatoes and set them aside. 

6.  In a small non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onions and pancetta until the onions are caramelized and the pancetta is crispy brown about 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and set it aside.

a Large skillet browning chopped onions and pancetta. by 2sistersrecipes.com

7.  When your outside grill is hot and ready.  Season octopus lightly with salt and pepper.  Drizzle or brush some olive oil over it and place the octopus directly onto the grill and cook it for about 4 to 8 minutes per side, turning with kitchen tongs, until the octopus is nicely charred (but not burnt) on all sides. Remove and transfer to a cutting board.

8.  Transfer the octopus to a cutting board. Slice the octopus into bite-size pieces, about 1/2-inch thick, and transfer to a serving platter. 

9.  Arrange sliced potatoes on both ends of the platter.  Spoon the pancetta and onions mixture over the octopus and potatoes evenly.  Drizzle over the entire platter with capers, remaining extra-virgin olive oil, and remaining lemon juice.  Lightly season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. 

10.  Garnish with green onions on top.  Serve warm, room temperature or even cold is fine too.  Refrigerate any leftovers.  This can be served as a salad the next day. 

Serve 2 to 4

QUESTIONS and TIPS for Success!

  • Can we tenderize the octopus before boiling it? Yes, you can. Place the octopus on a cutting board. Use a wooden spoon or meat mallet, and pound the octopus multiple times, starting in the middle and moving down each tentacle to tenderize the meat. But it’s best to boil it.
  • Can we cook octopus in a pressure cooker? Yes. Toss the octopus into your pressure cooker, add enough water to cover it, and set the timer to tenderize. It should tenderize the octopus in half the time.
  • How to grill the octopus? When Grilling: the grill rack should be about 4 inches from the heat source, and it should be on medium heat.
  • Can we prepare or make ahead? Yes, at least 24 hours in advance, and boiling it until tender, draining, covering, and refrigerating octopus. Then grill it (as in our recipe card) and serve it sliced with boiled potatoes, onions, and pancetta.
  • Can we serve this as a salad? Yes, you can chill the entire grilled octopus with all the rest of the ingredients and serve it as a salad.
  • Also, refrigerate any leftovers. Leftovers can be served as a salad the next day. Enjoy!
Grilled octopus with potatoes by 2sistersrecipes.com

The grilling season is a great time to try something new and delicious.  

Your guests could become “hooked.” Think of grilled octopus for your next BBQ.

and Enjoy!

Grilled Octopus with Potatoes Onions and Pancetta by 2sistersrecipes.com

MORE TASTY SEAFOOD RECIPES!

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Grilled Octopus with Potatoes, Onions and Pancetta

Grilled Octopus with Potatoes, Onions and Pancetta by 2sistersrecipes.com

Grilled Octopus with Potatoes, Onions, and Pancetta. Tender-grilled octopus served with sliced potatoes, and a caramelized-smoky topping makes every bite of this seafood appetizer triply delicious!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound octopus (about 2 to 3 small or medium-size tentacles)
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil- divided
  • 1 yellow onion - diced
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. cubed pancetta
  • 2 lemons, juiced- divided
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, boiled, skins peeled, sliced
  • 1 to 2 tsp. capers
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 green onion, sliced on diagonal, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Place the octopus into a large pot with pour water over it, about 2 inches or more, enough to cover the octopus. Add in 1 cup of vinegar, garlic cloves, 1/2 of a lemon, juiced and peppercorns. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer on low heat.
  2. Cook octopus for about 50 to 90 minutes, or until it's tender when pierced with a knife or fork through one of the tentacles.
  3. Drain, and allow the octopus to "rest" and reach room temperature before grilling.
  4. Meantime, slice potatoes and set them aside. In a small non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onions and pancetta until the onions are caramelized and the pancetta is crispy brown about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set it aside.
  5. When your outside grill is hot and ready. Season octopus lightly with salt and pepper.
  6. Drizzle or brush some olive oil over it and place the octopus directly onto the grill and cook it for about 6 to 8 minutes per side, until the octopus turns brown. Remove and transfer to a cutting board.
  7. Slice the tentacles about 1/2-inch thick, and transfer to a serving platter.
  8. Arrange sliced potatoes on both ends of the platter. Spoon the pancetta and onions mixture over the octopus and potatoes evenly. Drizzle over the entire platter with capers, remaining extra-virgin olive oil, and remaining lemon juice.
  9. Lightly season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Garnish with green onions on top. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
  10. Serve 2 to 4

Notes

  • TENDERIZE THE OCTOPUS before boiling it: Place the octopus on a cutting board. Use a wooden spoon or meat mallet, and pound the octopus multiple times, starting in the middle and moving down each tentacle to tenderize the meat.
  • Reserve any leftovers in a sealed container and chill in the refrigerator. Enjoy this octopus as a salad the day after.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2 to 4 servings

Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299Total Fat: 2.5gCarbohydrates: 25.9gFiber: 3.3gSugar: 2.7gProtein: 36.1g

Did you make this recipe?

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Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!  

Happy Cooking and Grilling  🙂

xo Anna and Liz

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8 Comments

  1. Great recipe,have been cooking it for 30 yrs now.Ever since we where traveling in the Greek islands.Love all your recipes. 😉Thanks Louise

    1. Aw, thanks so much, Louise! Thank you for subscribing to us and trying our recipes. It means a lot to us. You are so sweet! 🙂
      If there is a recipe you would like me to try, please let me know? Have a great weekend! 🙂

  2. We have a favorite restaurant that really does grilled octopus well. We've tried it at other places but it's been rubbery and not flavorful at all. The stove top method sounds so easy to prepare the octopus but I like the sound of the braising method too. Maybe I'll need to try both! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  3. Oh come on Tricia, we know you can do it! I too didn't have the confidence until the chef at the restaurant assured me that it's easier than it looks – and it was! I hope you'll give it try soon! Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely week.

  4. You are the bravest women I know! I am such a chicken – and have never wanted to do anything with octopus – but you make it look so easy and delicious. I don't know 🙂 I have yet to cook my own lobster – but it's on my list! Thanks for the interesting, and delicious looking, creative dish. I feel like I learned at lot 🙂