Octopus is a traditional and much loved Greek Meze, often simply boiled, or grilled over charcoal and cut into slices, and served with oil and vinegar dressing mixed with herbs.
The octopus is often boiled before it is grilled to ensure that it will not be tough, especially if it is very large. A favourite way of cooking it is krasato, when dry red wine and chopped onions are added to the octopus and simmered together until a thick red sauce is produced.
Octopus is often available from fishmongers far away from the Mediterranean and sold ready tenderised; when it is bought in Greece it has already been tenderised by the fisherman who caught it, for he has beaten it many times against a rock on the shore or quay It is also hung up to dry on washing lines and then marinated in oil and lemon juice and served as ktapodosalata- however, I find dried octopus a rather acquired taste.
Before it can be cooked the inkbag, eyes, beak and contents of the head of the octopus have to be removed – if this sounds an unpleasant job I am sure your fishmonger will do it for you. In the finished dish, you can either leave the skin and suckers intact or remove them from the tentacles.
How to clean and prepare octopus: Make a slit at the base of the head where the tentacles join it and take out everything from the inside of the head- soft, gluey parts, the ink sac, and the bird-like beak. Turn the head inside out and remove eyes and any tough parts. Pick off any scales around the suckers on the tentacles.Cut the tentacles and head into small pieces or as required.