Poulpe grillé sur lit de fenouil et fèves, coulis de poivrons grillés, et sauce aux fines herbes

Since I came back from Japan, I have been wanting to make Takoyaki which are Japanese octopus balls usually find in the streets of Japan and eaten as snacks. They are delightful (of course if you like octopus). I went to Japan town and got all the ingredients, then when I arrived home, I decided to change my menu and went for a more Mediterranean recipe instead. As we say in French “il n’y a que les imbeciles qui ne changent pas d’avis” (only imbeciles don’t change their mind). I was quite hungry, and I thought I didn’t want to eat something called a “snack”. So takoyaki will have to wait.

Needless to say I adore octopus, in any shape or form, and my two favorite ways to eat it is either as a stew or grilled.

I made this herb salsa a few days ago to eat with grilled fish and I had some left that would be perfect for this dish as well. You don’t need to make two sauces. You can pick between the roasted pepper sauce or this herb one…or both if you don’t mind the extra work (which is very minimal). Honestly, I love to serve it with both. The roasted pepper salsa brings out the sweetness and the herb salsa is more pungy and citrussy and both are really a great combination for grilled octopus.

This dish is fairly simple as far as technique and likelihood to mess it up. Now, it require many different ingredients, but not too many spices. I don’t like dishes that are too complicated where you lose the essence of the primary ingredient, therefore end up not knowing what you are eating anymore. So this dish does not fit in that category despite its ingredients.

I included some saute greens that are optional, but I love my greens so it’s up to you to decide if you want to add some or not. The ones are used are Asian greens that looks like rapini, but any stems green would work.

Ingredients for 2-3

For the roasted pepper salsa

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper

For the herb salsa

  • 1/2 bunch dill
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 bunch basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 1/2 ts cumin
  • salt and pepper

For the fava beans and fennel saute

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 fennel head, shaved very finely and thinly
  • 1/2 cup fava beans (shelled)
  • 2 tbs dry white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon oil for drizzling

For the octopus

  • 400 g cooked octopus
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper


For the roasted pepper salsa

Roast peppers under broiler until they turn black on all sides. Remove from oven and let it cool. Remove seeds and skin and place in a mixer with the rest of the ingredients until the mixture becomes smooth.

For the mix herb salsa

Mix all ingredients in a mixer less the lemon zest until fine, like a pesto texture. Add lemon zest at the end.

For the fava bean and fennel saute

Remove fava beans from pod. Bring a water to a boil in a small pot.  Cook fava beans in water for about 3 minutes. Drain and remove the fava bean from their shell. Keep aside.

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add fennel and mirin and cook at medium heat for a few minutes until the fennel starts to soften but still remain firm. Let mirin evaporate. Add fava beans and mix well. Adjust with salt and pepper and drizzle with lemon oil.

For the octopus

You either need precooked octopus you can find at any Asian market or raw octopus that you will cook yourself in water until soft (it should take about 40 minutes). When cooked, cut a few tentacles in about 4.5 inches long. Marinate them in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper for about one hour. Grill on barbeque on skillet until golden brown and crispy on each sides (about 10 minutes).