Coal-grilled Octopus with Young Lettuce Salad

Adapted by
Yield: 10 Servings, first course


Coal-grilled Octopus
2 cups white wine
1 lemon, sliced into ⅛-inch discs, ends and seeds discarded
Small handful of black peppercorns
5 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups cold water
1 6-pound Spanish octopus, beak, eyes, cartilage, and brain matter removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Young Lettuce Salad
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
8 ounces young lettuces (arugula, mizuna, tatsoi)
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
4 ounces shaved fennel bulb
10 Castelvetrano olives, pitted and torn into thirds
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
To Assemble and Serve
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1½ tablespoons pimentón
freshly ground black pepper


For the Coal-grilled Octopus:
In a large pot, combine the wine, lemon slices, peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt. Add the cold water. Transfer the cleaned, rinsed octopus to the pot and submerge, adding enough water as necessary to cover completely. Weight down the octopus with a ceramic plate or bowl to keep the octopus below the surface of the water bath. Transfer the pot to the stovetop over high heat and bring to barely a simmer. Steam should rise from the pot, but bubbles should not be present. Cook for 4 hours, covered with only the ceramic plate.
Remove the octopus from the pot and allow to cool to room temperature. Reserve.

Preheat a coal-fired grill. Separate the octopus’ tentacles from the head so that you have nine pieces of octopus. Rub 3 tablespoons of olive oil on the octopus and grill the pieces over hot coals, until the octopus is warm, moist and slightly charred on the outside. Reserve.

For the Young Lettuce Salad:
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil and the red wine vinegar. In a separate bowl, toss the lettuces with the shallot, fennel, and olive pieces. Season the salad with salt and pepper, and drizzle with enough dressing to gently coat the greens.

To Assemble and Serve:
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, the sherry vinegar, and the pimentón and set aside. Cut the grilled octopus in 1 to 2-inch chunks and toss with the pimentón vinaigrette. Divide the Young Lettuces Salad onto 10 plates, or one large platter. Lay the grilled octopus pieces over the greens.