I learned this dish from Maria Loi, a Greek chef on the Upper West Side, where she runs her eponymous restaurant LOI, when we worked a charity event together. She called it by its Greek name Htapodaki Stin Schara but whenever I tried to say that mouthful, it sounded very much like a sneeze. However you say it, though, properly cooked octopus (first braised then grilled) is pure heaven. As for the sauce, ladolemono is a Greek version of the lemon and olive oil sauce you find all around the Mediterranean. Mine has mustard powder for extra oomph that might overwhelm other seafood but not a meaty, crusty octopus. It all starts with the octopus the larger the octopus, the bigger the tentacles, and the bigger the tentacles, the juicier the finished dish!
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Preheat the oven to 150°F. In a dutch oven, combine the octopus tentacles, white wine, red wine, peppercorns, and bay leaves. The tentacles should be completely submerged in the liquid. If not, add more of each wine. Cover the pot and braise until tender, about 6 hours. Remove from the oven and let sit, covered, for 30 minutes. To make the Sauce
- In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lemon juice, mustard powder, and salt and pepper. Shake vigorously. Add the olive oil and shake again until emulsified.
- Preheat a grill pan over high heat until hot. Gently rub just a touch of olive oil on each tentacle, and grill just long enough so that grill marks appear on both sides. Transfer to a plate, spoon some sauce over, and garnish with the chives.