A Meal with Legs — Lots of ’em

Editors’ Note: Some of you may already know Bliz from his work over at A Moveable Feast. We’ve asked him to stop by ES and share some of his culinary exploits and photographic hotness with us.


I love my friends. They give me the freedom to assign menus with the authority of a fascist  dictator. They complement my efforts despite my failures. They smile and eat dishes that I myself stopped eating after a few bites.  But while I appreciate their support, a twisted part of me really likes to see them squirm when I serve up something they weren’t expecting.  So last Saturday, the gang got a taste of braised octopus with home fries.  The reactions, to say the least, were mixed…


After a lot of searching, I was able to lay my hands on some fresh, baby octopus (after failing to find the larger, more adventurous variety).  Just like store-bought squid, octopus has a fickle cooking time.  A quick sear/grill maintains the taste of the ocean and firm texture.  Cook for a few minutes too long and it turns into rubber.

The other popular way to cook octopus is braising — I find it a little easier, although it still requires a lot of care.  You want to maintain that taste of the sea and the unique firmness of the ‘pus, so you don’t want to braise it so long that it loses that ocean flavor and becomes bland and flavorless.  I found one hour braised in white wine and water did the trick just fine.

Octopi for 4

2 lbs baby octopus, cleaned
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, sliced
Pinch salt
Big pinch cayenne powder
4 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
Big pinch paprika
2 knobs butter
Olive oil

Add oil and onions to a pot and saute till tender.  Add your garlic, cayenne and octopus and toss for 1 minute.  Pour in wine, water, and bay leaf.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour.

After about 30 minutes, peal/dice potatoes and add to another pan of salted, boiling water.  Boil for about 5 minutes, drain.  Add butter and oil to medium hot pan and toss in the potatoes and lay on a single layer (work in batches is necessary).  Let bottom brown and flip fries, tossing in a little salt.

While potatoes are frying, remove cooked ‘pus and set aside. Save 1 cup of cooking broth and reduce the shit out of it until you have ¼ cup remaining.  Remove from heat, add knob of butter and let cool and thicken.

Once potatoes are fried and tender, toss octopus in reduced sauce and lay on top of the plated potatoes.  Hopefully someone will be grossed out, but this is quality grub.


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  • Harmony April 27, 2009  

    You have succeeded. Someone, namely me, is grossed out!

  • Maids April 27, 2009  

    The second picture of the octopus fetus really got my gag reflex going.

  • BS April 27, 2009  

    you have not succeeded in grossing me out — I am ready for some octopus!

  • jenn April 27, 2009  

    the first time i ever had octopus was at zatinya in dc last summer. it was grilled with onions and capers over a yellow split-pea puree that was kind of out of control. i fell in love.

    go. now. http://www.zaytinya.com/

  • Maids April 27, 2009  

    Well, I wasn’t grossed out by the first picture. It looked very artistic. Almost like a mutated hermit crab with a square piece of potato instead of a shell on his back.

  • BS's Mom April 27, 2009  

    Uncle Nick’s in Manhattan makes delicious grilled baby octopus.

  • The Hungry Mouse April 28, 2009  

    Love, love, love baby octopus. Thanks for this!


  • Heidi from Savory Tv April 29, 2009  

    I’m not sure why calamari is ok in my book but this bothers me! This post is making me rethink my entire sea creature train of thought…

  • thepinkpeppercorn April 29, 2009  

    The first time someone said, “the local specialty is octopus, and we’re going to a place that makes the “best””, I thought they were nuts. And then I had this tender delicious meat with olive oil, and sea salt. I was in love with this stuff – it was SO good. But… I’ve never had it as good anywhere else…ever. Unfortunately, I keep trying (and have had some major catastrophe’s…grrr)…but maybe I’ll have to make it myself with this recipe!

  • Sarah March 28, 2010  

    I just know they taste delicious, but I can’t bring myself to eat these guys. They’re too smart and sensitive – the guilt would overwhelm me. I’ve seen them at seafood markets curled up all sad in buckets of water… heartbreaking.

    I always feel this terrible curiosity when I see octopus sushi though, looks so soft and tasty! I’ll keep making do with squid for now.

    Hope your friends enjoyed the meal.

  • Bob the Chef June 19, 2010  

    Cute food!

  • onetimeonly January 1, 2015  


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