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Htapothi Xythato: Marinated Octopus


Marinated Octopus - Greek Food Photos

Marinated octopus

Photo © Jim Stanfield

In Greek: χταπόδι ξυδάτο, pronounced khtah-PO-thee ksee-THAH-toh

Octopus is a great favorite as an appetizer or meze, and this marinated version is particularly tender. It can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 4 1/2 pounds of octopus, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
  • 3 1/2 ounces of water from the pressure cooker
  • 3 1/2 ounces of good quality wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • ground Greek oregano (rigani) for garnish


A note about octopus: Octopus loses a lot of its volume during cooking, so expect that the finished dish will look like quite a bit less than the original quantity.

If the octopus has not been cleaned: Under running water, remove and discard the ink sac, stomach, and eyes from the large head cavity. Remove the beak, at the bottom of the head where it joins the tentacles, with a sharp knife. (Squeamish? Wear rubber gloves.)

Place the whole octopus in a pot with enough boiling water to to cover generously. When it resumes boiling, cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain. When cool enough to handle, rub the octopus with your hands under running water to remove the dark outer membrane. This comes off fairly easily, and if it doesn't all come off, that's all right.

Place the octopus in the pressure cooker with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, seal, and when pressure is reached, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Use quick pressure release, remove the octopus and drain.

When the octopus is cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized morsels. (Cut thicker parts into pieces 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches long, and thinner pieces up to 3 inches long.) Place in a bowl with the water (saved from the pressure cooker), vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5-6 hours before serving.

    Note: The marinade should cover the octopus. If it doesn't, mix up a little more.

To serve, remove from the marinade (which may become slightly gel-like), drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano.

Serving suggestion: Marinated octopus also goes well as a side dish with fakes (lentil soup), and perhaps some cauliflower... and Greek olives. As a meze, it's perfect with ouzo.

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