Grilled Octopus With Santorini Fava

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IMG_6109This post isn’t so much about a recipe as it is about pairing certain foods – in this instance octopus and Santorin fava. Octopus, I love it but it wasn’t always the case.

Santorini yellow split peas
Santorini yellow split peas

I had my epiphany moment with octopus back in 1983 when I sat with my uncles in Greece at a seafood taverna outside of Thessaloniki. Plates upon plates of seafood arrived, one of which was octopus. They were eating it, there was no going for souvlaki or gyro and I was hungry. Tasted octopus and loved it!

Santorini Fava puree, caper leaves
Santorini Fava puree, caper leaves

Fast forward to 1988, my first visit to Santorini, some call the “jewel of the Mediterranean” and for the first time I taste Santorini fava. Here in the west we know fava as yellow split peas and in Quebec they make a soup out of it. In Santorini, it’s a dip or even served in place of mashed potatoes. It’s savory, a little sweet, works wonderfully with bay and thyme, minced onions and Greek olive oil bring out the flavours wonderfully.

Now bring octopus and Fava together and you have a wonderous pairing…think the savory version of peanut butter and chocolate. It’s that simpatico!IMG_6108

Grilled Octopus With Santorini Fava

(serves 4)

For the fava

1 cup yellow split peas

1 small onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

6 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 garlic cloves

1/4 finely chopped red onions

1 1/2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the octopus

4 tentacles of braised/tender octopus

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp. dried Greek oregano

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. minced capers

salt and pepper to taste



dried Greek oregano

grilled lemon


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the split peas with the onion, bay leaf and 4 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the split peas are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the split peas and discard the bay leaf.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the sun-dried tomatoes with the vinegar, garlic, oregano until minced. Add the split peas. With the machine on, slowly pour in the 1/2 cup of olive oil and process until a smooth paste forms. Season with salt and pepper add red onions, stir in. Transfer the dip to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, more minced red onions.
  3. Pre-heat your grill to high (or if you don’t have a grill, set your oven to broil). Toss the octopus in olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Once your grill is hot (or broiler) sear both sides of octopus until just crisp and transfer to a plate.
  5. Divide and place fava on plates and top with grilled octopus and spoon over dressing. Garnish with Greek oregano, capers and grilled lemon. Serve with good crusty bread and a bottle of chilled Argyros Atlantis white.

Want to join me on a gastronomic tour of Santorini and Crete? Read more here.

© 2015,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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