Charred Baby Octopus Salad

grilled baby octopus salad
Charred Baby Octopus, Lemons, Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Chili Peppers
Mixed Lettuces, Lemon Oregano Dressing

Just a few ingredients result in a smashing summer salad. Charred baby octopuses are the star, supported by hot cherry tomatoes that burst in the mouth. Blistered chili peppers satisfy the craving for hot weather piquancy. It all comes together with a lemony dressing flavored with oregano and garlic. Gorgeous colors, interesting textures, bold flavors. This salad makes a great addition to any summer buffet.

how to grill baby octopus

Par-boil the octopodes ahead of time, then this salad can be prepared in just a few minutes on a hot barbecue. A grill basket makes cooking a snap!

grilled baby octopus salad

Exotic. Smoky. Charred. Lemony.

Charred Baby Octopus Salad Recipe

charred octopus recipe

Place cleaned baby octopuses in a sauce pan and cover with water. Add a splash of white wine and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Cover and bring to a simmer, cooking about 20 minutes until the octopi are fork tender. Remove them with a spider or strainer. Let cool to room temperature.

Place octopodes in a bowl with lemon wheels, baby heirloom tomatoes, chilies (either Thai, Serrano, Jalapeño, Shishito). Coat with olive oil, lemon juice, dried oregano, salt, pepper. Let marinate while the grill gets hot, then place the medley in a grill basket in a single layer, and cook over high heat, flipping occasionally, until it all starts to char. Serve the hot octopus medley over lightly dressed mixed lettuces. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

Lemon Oregano Dressing

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together.

grilled baby octopus

By the way, until writing about this salad, I didn’t know there was such a controversy over the plural of octopus:

  • octopuses
  • octopi
  • octopodes

So, just for fun, I used them all. In addition, the plural doesn’t sound right for a menu item, hence the post title is singular. What do you think?

grilled baby octopus salad

Word Origin & History from here.


1758, genus name of a type of eight-armed cephalopod mollusks, from Gk. oktopous “eight-footed,” from okto “eight” (see eight) + pous “foot.” Proper plural is octopodes, though octopuses probably works better in English. Octopi is from mistaken assumption that -us is the Latin noun ending that takes -i in plural.

bbq baby octopus

In any event, be sure to enjoy charred octopus, octopuses, octopi, or octopodes this summer!

16 thoughts on “Charred Baby Octopus Salad”

  1. What a beautiful simple salad of one of my very favourite things to prepare and eat 🙂 ! My ‘learning’ tells me ‘octopi’, my feelingworld says ‘octopuses’ in this instance is ‘good enough’! Octopodes? Well, I thought we were kind’of foodies and not quite ‘scientists’ whatever our background ? 🙂 !

  2. I think octopus for a recipe title. But more important;ly. I live in LA. You live in LA. Where did you get those Octopi? I need to know. GREG

    1. Hi Greg – I get them (along with lots of other hard to find seafood) at Market World. A huge Korean supermarket on Sepulveda in Torrance. I bet you can find them at any of the bigger markets in Koreatown, closer to you up there.

      1. The best place is 99 Ranch Market, which is a cultural experience in and of itself. Frozen babies and full sized octos, both already cleaned!

        Tonight we are doing the Feast of the Seven Fishes with each couple preparing the fish of their choosing. Ours is a Duet of Octopus, with carpaccio and grilled baby octopus! mangia!

  3. This looks incredible. It brings me back to all that beautifully simple grilled seafood I’d enjoy living in Italy. And octopus is particularly delectable. It deserves to be much more popular.

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