Octopus is one of the most common ingredients on any Aegean seaside meze table. At 3 pm in the coastal towns you’ll see kitchen workers emerge from the restaurants and throw handfuls of octopus against the rocks beside the sea, to tenderise them ahead of the 6 pm rush.
My mum used to automate the process by putting them in an old top-loading washing machine with some rocks and churning them for an hour (without washing powder!). Luckily, in fish markets now you can buy them already tenderised.
I love cooking octopus whole with its tentacles on. My good friend İvgen, from Evgenia meyhane in Bodrum, gave me a version of this recipe which has the octopus boiling with mulberry-tree branches before it’s char-grilled. She says it makes the octopus melt in your mouth. For convenience, ecology and flavour, I’ve substituted oregano. No mulberry trees were harmed in the making of this dish. I can’t say the same for the octopus.