Octopus Grilled at Mystiko
Octopus Grilled at Mystiko

Octopus Grilled at Mystiko

Octopus is a great favourite in Greek cuisine, and the Greeks are true masters at preparing it on the grill. The Mezze dish of Octopus Grilled shown above was served to me at the Mystiko Greek restaurant in Ottawa’s Centertown district and was the star offering in a really splendid meal.

The menu described the Octopus as being marinated, but I really wasn’t able to taste any particular flavoring beyond the added dressing. Possibly, some lightly acidic marinade without any additions was used to tenderize the flesh of the octopus after simmering it, but I couldn’t t detect that in taste or texture either.


Read More →

Tatoyaki at Wasabi in Ottawa
Tatoyaki at Wasabi in Ottawa

Tatoyaki at Wasabi

Wasabi, a Japanese restaurant down in Ottawa’s Byward Market, was a terrific restaurant back in its day and I was saddened when it finally closed its doors. The chefs there could be very inventive and produced some uniquely interesting and delightful dishes over the years.

Sometimes, though, the culinary attempts at creativity that came out of the kitchen were just a teensy bit misguided and the results ended up being flops of monumental proportions. The Tatoyaki dish you see pictured above was, I regret to tell you, very much one of their more epic fails…


Read More →

Octopus Steamed alla Parmentara
Octopus Steamed alla Parmentara

Octopus Steamed alla Parmentara

I had this dish served to me at the now defunct Empire Grill in Ottawa’s Byward Market some time ago. I am not sure what the Parmentara signifies (and a google search reveals nothing of note), but steamed octopus is not a common restaurant offering and I couldn’t resist giving it a try. It was an interesting dish, in conception at least, but the execution left a little to be desired.


Read More →

Tatoyaki at Tomo in Ottawa
Tatoyaki at Tomo in Ottawa

Tatoyaki at Tomo

The Tomo Restaurant is an Asian fusion restaurant in the Byward market section of Ottawa. It is a nightspot as well as a restaurant, but I stopped by during the daytime for the sole purpose of trying their Tatoyaki.

For those unfamiliar, Takoyaki is a Japanese snack made of batter filled with diced Octopus and cooked in a special molded pan, and, on the menu at Tomo (which has changed since), it was described as ‘Battered octopus balls topped with house dressing, scallion and shaved bonito flakes’. Essentially, that is exactly what I got, but the execution, I am sorry to say, wasn’t all that good…


Read More →

Red-Cooked Pork with Dried Octopus
Red-Cooked Pork with Dried Octopus

This dish of Red-Cooked Pork with Dried Octopus illustrates a classic Chinese cookery technique known as ‘red-cooking’, in which the main ingredients are braised in a good Basic Chinese Chicken Stock enhanced with Soy Sauce and various aromatics. These ‘Red-Cooked’ or 紅燒 dishes derive their collective name from the dark, often reddish appearance that the Soy Sauce imparts.

Often, and especially in Cantonese cuisine, the aromatics include Star Anise, and sometimes cinnamon and orange peel, all of which add a very sweet background taste to the finished dish. Personally, I am not very fond of using the sweeter aromatics in dishes of this type so I am omitting them here and have instead added just a little Dried Chili and Galanga, both of which you might find in Sichuanese interpretations.


Read More →

Whole Dried Squid
Whole Dried Squid

Dried Squid and Octopus are common cookery ingredients in China and all across Asia. The flavor of both of these sea-creatures, as with many other food products, becomes concentrated and intensified by the drying process, and this allows them to act as flavor enhancers in all sorts of dishes.

If you are unfamiliar with these particular foodstuffs, the prospect of even purchasing them can be daunting, but if you would like to take advantage of the umami-boost they can give to your recipes, read on and learn how to prepare and use them in your own kitchen…


Read More →

Spicy Fried Baby Octopus
Spicy Fried Baby Octopus

This little appetizer dish of Spicy Fried Baby Octopus incorporates chili, cumin, and a little thyme into the deep-fry coating of cornstarch. When jazzed up this way, the tender morsels require no additional condiments at the table other than just a wee squeeze of lemon.

Read More →

Ginger Fried Baby Octopus
Ginger Fried Baby Octopus

These Ginger Fried Baby Octopus take advantage of the fact that the smaller varieties are more tender, and often more sweeter than the larger ones. Here, a little complimentary flavoring is added by way of a ginger and rice wine marinade….

Read More →

A dish of Octopus Stew
A dish of Octopus Stew

You can find many different versions of Octopus Stew all around southern Europe, but there is a remarkable commonality in those dishes hailing from Greece, Malta, Spain, Italy and Portugal. The basic theme involves octopus stewed in a tomato base, generally with wine, along with herbs favored in the region. Olives, and sometimes capers, are frequent additions, and many incorporate potatoes. The following preparation is an amalgam of all of these…

Read More →

Provençal Octopus Brochettes served Tapas-style
Provençal Octopus Brochettes served Tapas-style

Provençal Octopus Brochettes are skewers of octopus tentacle sections that have been marinated in herbs and lemon juice, then grilled until just beginning to char. They make a delicious first-course appetizer, or one of a series of offerings in a Tapas meal.

Read More →