I enjoy octopus immensely. Although it is very common in Mediterranean European countries, it has not received the attention here in the US. In fact, I suspect many think of it as an exotic food. But if you can get past the tentacle suction cups, you will almost certainly find octopus to be a culinary delight. It’s like many foods; you have to acquire a taste if you have not grown up eating it. I recommend using fresh octopus (buy it already cleaned and prepared) if you can get it.
Some grocery stores and Asian markets carry it. I have no problems finding it here in Florida. I suggest that if you find it fresh, marinate it the same way as I did for the calamari (24 hours) and then grill it the same way. If you cannot find fresh octopus, you can use Vigo’s canned octopus (don’t grill it) as a fallback. They offer it in soy and olive oil, and it is actually quite good. In addition, I use white balsamic vinegar in the recipe. It is not as strong as the regular.
It is not news that the cuisine of America and the cuisine of Mexico are quite different things. Mexican food recipes, for example are certainly not very similar to those found in America. Strangely enough, Canadian food is rather similar to our own, as is often the case with neighboring countries – so why is the culinary tradition of our southern neighbor so different from ours? Mexican recipes use different ingredients than we commonly see in the average grocery store and create flavors, which seem exotic to American palates.
A Look at the Uniqueness of Mexico’s Food History
There are two important reasons why Mexican food differs so greatly from the standard fare in the United States. One is historical. Unlike the United States, Mexico spent a much longer time as a Spanish colony than did the US. It is true that parts of the US were originally Spanish territories, though the Spanish colonial period lasted for a much briefer length of time here, with the influence of Spanish cuisine being pronounced mostly in regions, which were once Spanish territory, largely those bordering Mexico.