Ludo Lefebvre’s Secret for Tender Octopus Is Surprisingly Simple
In this week’s episode of Ludo à la Maison, we learn how to make one of his most popular dishes from LudoBites—tandoori octopus with yogurt, cauliflower, and grapefruit.
While octopus, grapefruit, and tandoori paste might not seem like an obvious combination, Ludo Lefebvre wants to prove otherwise—after all, the dish was a customer favorite when he first made it at his pop-up restaurant, LudoBites, in Los Angeles. This week’s episode of Ludo à la Maison shows viewers how to make the tandoori-inspired dish at home, and provides the elusive “secret” to perfectly tender octopus, which, as you’ll see, isn’t a secret at all. (He offers a few examples of people saying to “beat up the octopus nine times” and “put it in the washer” to show just how silly the myths are.) You'll find a few other tips throughout the clip too, such as how to properly cut the grapefruit and repurpose the leftover octopus—and find the full recipe here.
Want tender octopus? Cook it.
Lefebvre says octopus takes around two to three hours to tenderize, and the “secret” to tender octopus is to “cook it, cook it, cook it until it’s cooked.” There’s no need to beat it—that’s a myth.
Lay off the salt
When you’re adding the octopus to the pot with water, wine, and mirepoix, don’t be tempted to add any salt (like you would with a pasta)—octopus is already salty, he says. Keep in mind that the water will reduce during cooking, too, and it will become more salty as it does so.
Watch for the shrink
Once it’s cooked for around 2.5 to 3 hours, check with a knife to see if it’s tender. It should slide right in with ease, and Lefebvre notes “see how it shrinks” as he tests the octopus.
Marinate it overnight
You really want the tandoori marinade to coat the octopus—so, Lefebvre says while you can do it for six hours, overnight would be much better.
Save the leftovers
Lefebvre uses the octopus legs for this dish, and caramelizes them. But he saves the rest to make a salad.
Cut your grapefruit carefully
When Lefebvre prepares the grapefruit to plate with the octopus, he notes that you need to cut off all of the white from the fruit, since it’s very bitter. He slices off the skin with a French technique called pelé à vif, cutting it off in chunks as he rotates the fruit. Once the white part is off, he also adds that you should only add ”the best parts” of the grapefruit to the plate.
Don’t forget the toppings
A little drizzle of olive oil on the octopus makes it shiny, and some grapefruit zest adds additional flavor.