The Chicago Firehouse
1401 S. Michigan Avenue
(312) 786-1401

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Charred Baby Octopus with Grilled Bread, Bell Peppers, Olives, Tomato Sauce and Arugula 4 servings

2 pounds fresh baby octopus, cleaned
2 lemons, quartered
1 carrot, cut in quarters
1 small red onion, quartered
1 stalk celery, quartered
1 cup white wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cloves garlic, smashed
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Place all ingredients in a pot and cover with water. Bring up to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Continue to cook until octopus is tender (depending on octopus, from 1 hour to 2 hours). Let octopus cool in this braising liquid until cool enough to handle and remove from liquid.

1 10 oz can Italian imported plum tomatoes, whole
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh basil
1/4 carrot, peeled and finely grated
1/4 yellow onion and finley chopped
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1 cup arugula

Drain tomatoes from their juice and chop finely. Add the rest of the ingredients through the onion to a saucepan and turn on low flame. Sweat the vegetables until soft. Raise flame to high, add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes. Keep warm. Add to this, the red bell pepper, olives, chopped parsley and arugula.

1 lemon, half segmented, the other half juiced
2 sprigs oregano, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix ingredients together to make a vinaigrette.

To prepare the octopus, season all of it with salt and pepper, toss in a drizzle of olive oil and place on a hot grill. Lightly char all around. Pull off grill and toss in lemon vinaigrette. Slice 4 thick rounds of a baguette style bread, drizzle with olive oil and grill on both sides. On the serving plate, place bread in middle, spoon tomato sauce over and top with octopus. Drizzle some vinaigrette over and around octopus.


Let your proteins, ie steaks, chicken, thick fish fillets, come to room temperature before cooking on the grill. They will cook more even.

Use a marinade for your proteins to add more flavor with very little last minute work. This also helps the meat not stick to your grill.

Always have one section of your grill be a place to keep items warm. This is done by not having any coals or open flame directly underneath. This gives you flexibility while moving items around the grill and helps in not over cooking.