Greek Marinated Octopus in Oil and Vinegar

Marinated octopus
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Ratings (12)
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 0 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings

In Greek, marinated octopus in oil and vinegar, known as χταπόδι ξυδάτο, is pronounced khtah-PO-thee ksee-THAH-toh.

Octopus is a great favorite in Greek cuisine as an appetizer or meze, side dish, or main course and this marinated version is particularly tender. It can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Octopus loses a lot of its volume during cooking, so expect the 4 1/2 pounds called for in this recipe to cook down and be enough for 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 pounds octopus (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 3 1/2 ounces cooking water from the pressure cooker
  • 3 1/2 ounces wine vinegar (good quality)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Garnish: extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • Garnish: ground Greek oregano (rigani)

Steps to Make It

Clean the Octopus

  1. Under running water, remove and discard the ink sac, stomach, and eyes from the large head cavity.

  2. Remove the beak, at the bottom of the head where it joins the tentacles, with a sharp knife. (If you're squeamish, wear rubber gloves.)

Boil the Octopus

  1. Place the whole octopus in a pot with enough boiling water to cover generously. When it resumes boiling, cook for 10 minutes.

  2. Remove from heat, and drain. When cool enough to handle, rub the octopus with your hands under running water to remove the dark outer membrane. This comes off fairly easily, and if it doesn't all come off, that's all right.

Pressure Cook the Octopus

  1. Place the octopus in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, seal, and when pressure is reached, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.

  2. Use quick pressure release, remove the octopus, and drain in a colander. Save the cooking water in the pressure cooker.

  3. When the octopus is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-sized morsels. (Cut thicker parts into pieces 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches long, and thinner pieces up to 3 inches long.)

Make the Marinade

  1. Place the octopus pieces into a bowl with 3 1/2 ounces cooking water saved from the pressure cooker, vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and mix well. This should be enough to completely cover the octopus; if it doesn't, make a little more marinade. 

  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 to 6 hours before serving.

Serving the Octopus

  1. To serve, remove the octopus from the marinade (which may become slightly gel-like), drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano.

  2. As a side dish, marinated octopus goes well with fakes (lentil soup), perhaps some cauliflower, and Greek olives. As a meze (appetizer), it's perfect with ouzo.