Tunisian Grilled Dried Octopus with Tomatoes and Green Olives

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

If you’ve seen octopus drying on clothes lines in Greece, Spain, and Tunisia and wondered what they do with it, here’s a recipe for an appetizer from the island of Kerkennah off the coast of Tunisia that uses dried octopus to good effect.

You can buy dried octopus at Asian markets. Be sure to begin soaking it a day in advance. The baking soda not only eliminates the strong odor, it also tenderizes and whitens the flesh.


  • 1 large dried octopus
  • Large pinch of baking soda
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Brine-cured green olives


  1. Soak the octopus in plenty of water with the baking soda for 1 hour. Change the water and soak without the baking soda for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Drain the octopus and marinate it in the olive oil seasoned with the cumin and salt and pepper to taste for up to 1 day.
  3. Drain and grill slowly for 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the octopus flesh. Slice sideways and sprinkle with lemon juice. Arrange on a platter and serve with sliced tomatoes and marinated olives.