Marinated baby octopus is the perfect appetizer for entertaining at home. Octopus is cooked to perfection, seasoned with oregano, salt, pepper and coated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Making marinated baby octopus is very easy. The whole preparation is simple and literally takes minutes. The cooking, however, takes some time, but if you want to taste the best octopus appetizer, you have to be patient.
Can you eat the whole baby octopus?
Yes, you can. The head is equally delicious as the tentacles. The only parts you cannot eat are the intestines, beak and the ink.
Some people might not like the skin which has a gelatinous texture, but I don’t find it a problem with marinated baby octopus. You can remove some of it with a knife after cooking, if you like.
How do you tenderize an octopus before eating?
This is a good question and I’ve seen many different answers across the Internet and also from fish sellers.
Apparently, you can tenderize it by brining, it in salted water for couple of hours or using a meat tenderizer or literally by beating it. I’ve tried the beating method (well, my fish seller did) but it did not work for me.
Now, when I make marinated baby octopus, all I do is simmer it for a long time until it gets tender. For baby octopus it is about 60-80 minutes. The larger the octopus, the longer the time needed.
How to make marinated baby octopus
Place rosemary sprigs, cloves, bay leaves and whole black peppercorns into a medium sauce pan. Add the octopus and cover with water. Then, cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for 75 minutes or until tender.
When ready, drain. Let the octopus cool down before you cut them into bite size pieces.
Transfer the pieces onto a serving plate and season with salt, pepper, oregano and add a generous amount of olive oil and a good splash of balsamic vinegar.
Mix everything together and taste. If you feel that this marinated octopus needs more seasoning, then add more.
For a full recipe, please check the recipe card.
Tips for making marinated baby octopus
- You can double or triple this baby octopus recipe. I don’t recommend halving it as octopus shrinks during cooking, so you wouldn’t have much left to feast on.
- I always use extra virgin olive oil for this kind of recipes as it is the best and most tasty oil out there. However, if you don’t have one on hand and you don’t want to buy one, you can use regular olive oil. Please, don’t substitute it with any other oils.
- Marinated baby octopus can be enjoyed right away or you can keep it in the fridge until serving time (I recommend using an air-tight container).
- 19 ounces Baby Octopus, cleaned, beak & ink removed (550 grams)
- 5 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
- 5 Whole Cloves
- 5 Black Peppercorns (can be omitted)
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon Salt (or more)
- Black Pepper to Taste
- 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (or more)
- Place all the ingredients for cooking into a medium sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for about 1 hour 15 minutes (see note 3). Taste one and when ready, drain.
- Let cool down a bit before cutting each one of them into bite size pieces. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and balsamic vinegar. Mix well.
- Serve right away or keep in the fridge (in an air-tight container) until ready to serve.
- Extra virgin olive oil can be substituted with regular olive oil.
- You can add more rosemary sprigs, bay leaves and cloves but do not use less.
- The cooking time can vary slightly. This will depend on how large the baby octopus are. The larger the size, the longer the cooking time.
- Don’t store the octopus in your fridge for more than 2 days.
- For detailed instructions and tips or if in doubt, please read the full post.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 396Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 172mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 54g