Seared Octopus

This is the first time I’ve ever made octopus and can I just say how much goddamn fun it was.
It’s like once you figure out your approach to cooking it, the rest is just observation.
And it was fucking fascinating.Let me see if I can try and break this thing down.Because the first thing you think is, how the fuck am I supposed to cook this shit?

You hit up Google and there’s like thousands of articles on how to cook it, the consensus being to cook it on low heat for a long time.
But then there’s the issue of preserving the natural flavor.


I won’t get into all of it here because someone else already did over here.

But basically, boiling it tends to rid it of its natural flavor.
Brining it breaks down the fibrous texture quicker than boiling but also doesn’t do much for the flavor.

Steaming it with a pressure cooker seemed like a good way to go but – of course I don’t own a fucking pressure cooker.

But then I found out that like mussels & clams, octopus also releases its own juices when heated which meant I could self-braise it.



Looking for tenderness and natural preservation of flavor – this was it.
This was the goddamn jackpot.


Before I self-braised the octopus, I blanched it in hot water for about 30 secs.

And as soon as I did this it went from it’s colorless long, limp state to almost a rigid state with the tentacles immediately curling up in this beautiful shade of purple.

I don’t know why but I thought this was so freaking neat.
I just get the biggest kick out of watching food transform.











Seared Octopus 


What I Used

2-4lb Fresh or Thawed Octopus. 1 cup Olive Oil. 1 tbsp Garlic Powder. 1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper. Salt. Pepper. 2 Bay Leaves. 1 tbsp Minced Garlic. 1 small handful Assorted Fresh Greens.

What I Did

Pre-heat the oven to 200F.

Thoroughly rinse and pat-dry the octopus.

Fill a large pot with enough water to completely immerse the octopus in.
Place it over high heat, salt the water and bring to a boil.

When the salted water is boiling, immerse the entire octopus in it and let it sit in the hot water for 30 seconds.

Remove from the boiling water and place in a baking dish.


See what 30 seconds of hot water does?

Drizzle the olive oil over the octopus and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, minced garlic & the bay leaves.
It’s ok to be generous with the seasoning.
Cover the baking dish and place in the oven.

Bake at 275F for 1.5 hours or until the thickest part of the octopus is tender when pierced with a fork.
The bake time may vary based on how your oven heats.


When tender, remove the octopus from the baking dish a place on a cutting board to rest.

Pour the remaining liquid into a sauce pan and boil down over a med flame.
When the liquid has reduced to a slightly thick sauce, remove from heat and set aside.


Meanwhile, when the octopus is warm enough to handle, cut the tentacles from the skirt (where the tentacles meet the head).
the_most_tender_octopus_recipes seared_octopus_recipes
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over a med-high flame and saute the tentacles until either side is golden brown, slightly crispy.


Serve with a small green salad, spooning the flavorful sauce on top of the octopus.
how_to_cook_octopus Boston_food_bloggers Seared Octopus the_best_octopus_recipes

76 thoughts on “Seared Octopus

  1. GAK! Not my favorite thing in the world. Photos are awesome though. I probably would have delighted in watching it cook up though. Die Octipi Die!

  2. So cool! I love octopus but don’t know if I could cook it. I can do squid but octopus sounds intense. You’re the real deal Dana! Hope you had a nice thanksgiving. I was up
    In Boston, it was so warm and I loved it! xx

  3. So cool! I love octopus but don’t know if I could cook it. I can do squid but octopus sounds intense. You’re the real deal Dana! Hope you had a nice thanksgiving. I was up
    In Boston, it was so warm and I loved it! xx

    1. It was pretty intense but only because of its size, you know?
      It’s like lobster (which freaks me the fuck out more than anything because they’re still alive and moving around) – once it’s in the pot, you’re safe.
      Everything is good again lol
      ❤ ❤ ❤

  4. Wow, the whole process looks pretty cool. And I must say the colour of the blanched octopus is really pretty. The closest I’ve come to eating octopus is calamari…does that count? Lol!

    xo, Jackie

  5. You are my hero. As if your blog couldn’t get any cooler. Cooking an octopus was on my bucket list this year but I never ended up going it. It’s so fascinating to see the transformation. Well done you. Wish I did it first. 😀

    1. It is right?
      Just watching this big ass freaky thing curl up into a polite red ball, lol.
      So cool, so cool 😀

      And you can definitely still do it.
      C’mon – you’re the queen of transforming food and there’s like a whole month left before the end of the year…
      Do itttttt.

  6. Though your Octopus looks yummy but there is no way I’m going to try anything other than fish, shrimp and crab. LOL!
    I remember when I ate squid by mistake at a wedding. The server came to our table to ask what everyone wanted and my brother suggested I tried Calamari. I had always seen Calamari on menus but I never cared for it so I never asked what it is. So I told the server to bring me calamari. My siblings and I began discussing seafood so I told them I will never try squid and octopus. They stared at me for a moment as I chowed down on my third calamari before my brother blurted out,”You just had squid fool.” Everyone began laughing. LMBO!

  7. I am fascinated! Look at this!! I’ve never had it like this. Only tiny small ones fried. Those little dudes were rubbery and it felt like they were grabbing my tonsil begging me not to swallow. This looks much better. You go girl!!!

  8. Very impressive I must say . I have always wanted to cook octopus but I was so afraid that it would be too tough or tasteless but that really looks good how you did it. I’m curious, what did you do with the main body of the octopus? Hope that didn’t get tossed out ?

    1. Nope, that got sliced up and eaten too.
      And in order to make them tough you have to actually OVERCOOK them.
      Basically it’s fairly hard to screw up, especially when you’re cooking them on low heat.

  9. Wish I’d seen this 5 months ago! My friends and I were in a seaside town in Croatia for our Summer holiday and we also bought an octopus which we first blanched and then threw on the barbecue: it was chewy as fuck, haha! Your version looks a lot more appealing though 😉

    1. Hahahaha! Aww, you poor things.
      Yeah I don’t understand those recipes that are like, “blanch it then grill it and that’s it!!”
      Like – that’s not how it works, haha.

      It’s like cooking a pork shoulder or a whole chicken, something meaty.
      A quick turn in hot water and then the grill is not going to make it tender.
      That shit needs to be slow cooked with love 😀

  10. The pictures and your descriptions are great! I have not prepared octopus by myself yet, but your recipe makes it seem not too difficult. What did you do with the rest of the octopus after cutting the tentacles off?

    1. It’s really not difficult.
      I think Octopus just gets a bad rap in general because it’s so fucking freaky looking.

      I sliced the rest of it and had it with some grilled potatoes for dinner.
      The whole thing is pretty much edible, the tentacles just make for a pretty presentation.

  11. Whoa! This is so impressive! Well done! Very easy to follow and well-researched. I really like octopus, but have only made it once. I’d love to do this in a nice red wine balsamic vinegar braise. It’s great for parties if you have some adventurous eaters. I love that you did this! The photos (once cooked) are awesome 🙂

  12. I made calamari from whole squid twice and once I got the hang of it I thought it was really fun! Do you have to pull out that clear back-bone thing in an octopus too? And push out all that goo?

    1. That’s awesome!!!
      Never done squid, I feel like I could now though!

      And no – the octopus came pre-cleaned. They really only sell them like that these days, which is very nice for us the consumer 😀

  13. Very interesting but hell no lol. I just couldn’t…. it’s was too alien looking and I am still mortified about accidently eating squid thinking it was onion rings. Ahhhhhhhhhhh… i could pull my tongue out just thinking of it LOL. But your pics are always stunning. Xo

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