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Portuguese style grilled octopus with smashed potatoes (polvo à lagareiro)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
This is a delicious traditional octopus dish served in most of Portugal and in many restaurants outside of the country. Often served with smashed potatoes.
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Portugal, Portuguese
Keyword: polvo a lagareiro, Portuguese grilled octopus
Servings: 2 people
  • 2.65 lbs or 1.2 kg whole octopus cleaned. Cut out the mouth. This is the black piece on the inside in the centre.
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes with the peel and washed (or small white potatoes)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt for boiling the potatoes
  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt for roasting the potatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic sliced thin
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  1. Fill a medium to large pot half way with water, add the 1 tbsp is salt, and boil the potatoes for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they become tender. Test with a fork. Set aside.

  2. Using your hands, wash the octopus under cold water, making sure to get each tentacle. This removes sand and any other impurities.
  3. Fill a large pot to about 3/4 with water and boil the whole octopus for about 40 minutes or until tender. You should be able to easily insert a fork into the thickest part of a tentacle.
  4. Preheat the oven for broiling at 500 F.
  5. Preheat the BBQ to 500 F.
  6. Once the potatoes are ready, pour out the water and pat them dry with paper towel.
  7. Place the potatoes in a roasting pan.
  8. Use the bottom of a glass or mug to carefully press down on each potato until they slightly crack. Don’t completely flatten them (see our finished picture).
  9. Drizzle the olive oil over them.
  10. Sprinkle the salt and sliced garlic evenly over the potatoes and place the bay leaf in the oil.
  11. Place the roasting pan with the potatoes in the hot oven on the middle rack and roast for 5 to 10 minutes or until the potatoes start to look slightly charred and golden.
  12. Drain the octopus and place it on a cutting board.
  13. Cut the tentacles/arms at the top to get some long pieces. Cut the head in half (see the our finished picture to see how we cut ours).

  14. Place the octopus pieces on the hot grill and cook each side for about 5 minutes with the lid closed.
  15. Scoop the potatoes onto a serving dish. Place the grilled octopus beside or over the potatoes.
  16. Drizzle the olive oil and garlic from the roasting pan over the potatoes and octopus.
  17. Top with the olives and chopped cilantro.
  18. Serve hot and enjoy!
Recipe Notes
  • Cooking times may very for both the potatoes and octopus depending on the size of both. Always test for tenderness.
  • Traditionally, the octopus cooks in the oven with the potatoes instead of on the BBQ. I love the taste of grilled octopus, so I opted to prepare mine on the grill. Feel free to cook yours with either method.
  • If you have a frozen octopus, you can defrost it quickly by running it under cold water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Octopus shrinks a lot while boiling. This may seem like a lot for two people, but trust us... it’s not!
  • We don’t recommend using the small frozen octopus rolls. These are usually too tiny. Buy fresh or frozen where you can see the thicker tentacles.