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Grilled Octopus with Tomato Confit and Hummus

Words: Brent Rosen with Keith Frentz
Photos: Randy Schmidt

Octopus needs a better PR firm. Around the world, people eat it regularly, but in the U.S., it’s still considered a bit strange. That said, grilled octopus combines so many of the flavors that people in the South love — smoke from grill, the natural sweetness of shellfish, the richness pork — it’s a shame it can’t be found on more restaurant menus.

Chefs to Watch Grilled Octopus

The key to tasty octopus is tenderizing the meat. Many restaurants use sous vide equipment to tenderize their octopus, but Keith Frentz at Lola Restaurant in Covington, Louisiana, keeps it traditional with an oven-braise. Braisig the octopus before grilling breaks down the tough muscles of the tentacles in the same way you’d braise the less tender cuts of beef.

Once the meat is tender, the last thing you want to do is toughen it up on the grill by over-cooking it, so make sure to pull the octopus from the grill as soon as it takes on a good char. This grilled octopus dish comes together over hummus and tomato confit, along with some fried peanuts for extra crunch.

Lola Restaurant Grilled Octopus Chefs to Watch

Ask your local seafood market about octopus, and if possible, have them clean it for you before you pick it up. Tasty grilled octopus at home is simpler than you think.

Grilled Octopus
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  1. 1 spanish octopus, cleaned, head removed, legs cut off
  2. 1 head fennel, rough chop
  3. 4 lemons, halved
  4. 8 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  6. ½ bottle white wine
  7. 6 bay leaves
  8. salt
  9. pepper
  10. ½ cup canola oil
  11. 2 tablespoons olive oil
To Finish
  1. Tomato Confit (recipe follows)
  2. Fried Peanuts (recipe follows)
  3. Jeff Young's Hummus (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Add oil to cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once oil shimmers, add octopus legs and sear on all sides until brown. Do in batches if necessary, you don't want to crowd the pan and steam your octopus legs.
  3. In braising pan combine all other ingredients plus seared octopus legs. Cover with foil and braise in oven till fork tender. 45 minutes to an hour. Once braised and tender, let octopus cool down completely.
  4. Pre-heat grill or broiler to medium-high heat. Brush the cooled octopus with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Grill or broil for two minutes per side until slightly crisp.
To Finish
  1. In a shallow bowl place a large dollop of hummus, sprinkle with fried peanuts, then add two spoonfuls of the tomato confit.
  2. Slice two octopus tentacles on the bias and assemble on top of the hummus. tenticles and
  3. Enjoy!
  1. *This recipe is adapted from a dish served at Lola Restaurant and has not been tested in our test kitchen.
Chefs to Watch http://www.chefstowatch.com/
Tomato Confit
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  1. 1 pint grape tomatoes
  2. 2 cups olive oil
  3. 4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  4. 1 lemon juiced
  5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 10-12 basil leaves chopped
  7. salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Combine all ingredients, roast until tomatoes begin to burst 20-30 minutes
Chefs to Watch http://www.chefstowatch.com/
Fried Peanuts
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  1. 1 lb raw unsalted peanuts
  2. 1 gallon water
  3. 2 bay leaves
  4. 1 cup crab boil
  5. 4 lemons cut
  6. 4 tablespoons salt
  7. 6 cups peanut oil
  8. additional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring water, crab boil, lemons, bay leaves and salt to a boil.
  2. Add peanuts and boil till tender. Add more water if necessary.
  3. Heat oil in cast ion pan. Drain boil peanuts and dry completely.
  4. Fry peanuts in oil for a few minutes until crisp and toasty.
  5. Once removed from oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
Chefs to Watch http://www.chefstowatch.com/
Jeff Young's Hummus
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  1. 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  2. ½ cup of tahini
  3. juice of a whole lemon
  4. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (to start)
  5. ¼ cup of water (to start)
  6. 4 cloves garlic peeled
  7. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  8. ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  9. sumac, optional
  1. Place chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water and olive oil in afood processor and
  2. process until the combination becomes creamy and smooth. If you need to adjust olive oil or water this is the time to do it. Just add slowly. Olive oil will make the hummus richer and smoother; the water will help to thin it out.
  3. After you've reached the desired consistency, taste and adjust salt to taste.
Chefs to Watch http://www.chefstowatch.com/
Keith Frentz Grilled Octopus

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