Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Grilled Baby Octopus In The Manner Of Uncle Nick's

Grilled Baby Octopus In The Manner Of Uncle Nick's
T. Susan Chang for NPR

Something about the dark, sweet, mild astringency of balsamic vinegar pairs so beautifully with grilled octopus. Be sure to baste constantly with the balsamic marinade while you grill, so you can get the most out of it.

Makes 4 servings as an appetizer

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil



1 pound thawed or fresh pre-cleaned baby octopus

3 cups water

Lemon wedges to serve

Combine the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, whisk vigorously and pour into a large zip-top plastic bag.

Place the octopus in a large heatproof bowl. Bring water to a rolling boil and pour over the octopus (the tentacles will curl, and the skin will become opaque). Let stand for 90 seconds; drain immediately. Transfer the drained octopus to the bag of marinade. Remove to the refrigerator to marinate at least 4 hours, preferably more.

Meanwhile, soak 6 wooden skewers in a sheet pan of water for at least a half-hour. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. When the grill is very hot, skewer the octopuses (2 or 3 to a skewer) and pour the remaining marinade into a small bowl.

Grill the octopuses until just charring at the tips, about 3 minutes a side, while basting with the remaining marinade. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the top if you like.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit