Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Octopus. It's a real culinary challenge for me to figure out the perfect way to cook one. It usually either comes out slimy or rubbery, or both. This Christmas, I tried a few ideas out, and think I might finally be on the right track. I'm going to part with our traditional marinated salad, but to me, just having octopus on the table is in keeping with tradition. Here is my plan for my next attempt...

Step 1: Beat the living daylights out of a thawed octopus with a tenderizer mallet.

Step 2: Gently simmer the octopus in salted water for over 2 hours until it is tender enough to stick a fork in.
*note - I tried cooking it in its own juices and was not happy with the "ocean floor" taste that resulted

Step 3: Drop the cooked octopus into an ice bath. My goal is to keep the suckers on the final octopus, and boiling for over 2 hours can turn them into mush. My theory is that the ice bath will re-solidify the suckers so they remain intact.

Step 4: Slice off each of the legs by cutting parallel to the leg all the way back to the beak, taking a piece of the head with each leg. This gives longer, meatier pieces than cutting perpendicular to the legs.

Step 5: Fry the pieces in olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic and some salt. My theory is that this will further set the suckers, while giving a higher heat than the gentle boiling to further tenderize the meatier pieces.

Step 6: I'm not 100% sure on this, but I think a simple warm salad is the way to go on this one. I feel like marinating (like i did this year) turns everything slimy, and I think a nice crisp warm texture will be tastier. I think just tossing the hot octopus with fresh parsley, and a little lemon and garlic will be perfect.

Step 7: I hope this is the right plan, but there could be several variations after step 4, including barbecuing, cooking in sauce, or marinating.

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