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Grilled octopus with chilli salsa and rocket

Recipe by: Nikolaj Juel
Serves: 4


You can prepare this dish on a Grill 17

This is the simplest way of preparing octopus and although I have been preparing octopus in this way since I starting cooking, this is still one of my favourite methods. I use ten-armed octopuses for this recipe, perhaps better known as “calamari”. They are very easy to handle but I suggest that you ask your fish monger to clean them for you.

The trick when preparing octopus is to cut “grooves” into the meat on the inside of the body. I make 3 cm (1.2 inches) deep cuts with 1 cm (0.4 inch) in between, and I repeat this diagonally so that I end up having a nice diamond pattern. This serves a few purposes; firstly, it softens the meat so that the octopus cooks faster, and secondly, as an extra bonus, the spices can enter the meat a lot better in this way.

Turn on the grill or place a grill frying pan at maximum temperature. Cut grooves into the meat on the inside of the body. It is very important that you grill the octopus at a high temperature because the meat tastes better if it is slightly caramelised.

Chilli salsa

Pour all ingredients into a bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper and some extra lemon juice if needed.

Season the meat and the tentacles with salt and pepper, and grill the octopus on the inside, i.e. on the side with the “grooves”. Turn the octopus after 2 minutes and leave it on the grill for another 1-2 minutes. It is going to curl up like a cylinder. This is perfectly normal. Just roll it around a bit to make sure that it is grilled on all sides. Let the tentacles grill for another minute.

Cut the octopus into slices of 3 cm (1.2 inches) diagonally. Add a bit of olive oil to the salad, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the octopus body and tentacles with a bit of rocket, a large spoonful of chilli salsa and a lemon wedge.



  • 4 ten-armed octopuses, cleaned, body and tentacles separated
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 large handful of rocket

Chilli salsa

  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped, without seeds
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper