How to Cook Tender Octopus
Seriously, there are so many crazy ways to cook tender octopus… from beating it on a rock to slamming it against the side of your sink (ten times no less) to boiling it with wine corks. Or you can massage the cephalopod vigorously with lots of salt until it froths then plunge him into a copper pot full of boiling water. Or you can roast him in a 200°F oven for five (!) hours. Or try my simple fool-proof method below, cooking time five (!) minutes.
The cooking method actually depends on the type of product with which you start. Here I begin with one pound of Frozen Cooked Spanish Octopus Tentacles (Pulpo Cocido) which is readily available and easy to prepare. This product can be found in the frozen seafood section of Whole Foods Market. Surprisingly, unlike other seafood, octopus’ texture might even benefit from the freezing process so fresh octopus in not considered to be superior.
The octopus is from the Eastern Central Atlantic Ocean, a product of Spain. It has already been cleaned; tentacles have been separated from the head. It was cooked with salt and bay leaves, then frozen. Keep it frozen until the day before use, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Place thawed tentacles in a pot and cover with fresh water. Bring the water to a boil then turn down immediately to a low simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the tentacles from the pot and let cool slightly on a platter so they can be sliced.
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Paella Rice with Baby Octopus & Meyer Lemon
Peas, Fennel, Onion
Lemon Olive Oil, Basil, Black Pepper
“Cooking is a love affair. It’s all about falling in love with your ingredients.”
Ingredients. Ingredients were the inspiration for this “casserole.” A brown paper bag full of gorgeous Meyer Lemons from my friend Judy’s yard. A Christmas gift of heavenly Lemon Olive Oil from my friend Allison. (Thank you, ladies). A charming cloth bag of arroz tradicional from Spain. And irresistible fresh baby octopus at my local Korean market.
“You can’t cook well without good ingredients. If you don’t treat the ingredient and its flavors with respect, if you drown it in oil, even good olive oil, you spoil it.”
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Charred Baby Octopus, Lemons, Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Chili Peppers
Mixed Lettuces, Lemon Oregano Dressing
Just a few ingredients result in a smashing summer salad. Charred baby octopuses are the star, supported by hot cherry tomatoes that burst in the mouth. Blistered chili peppers satisfy the craving for hot weather piquancy. It all comes together with a lemony dressing flavored with oregano and garlic. Gorgeous colors, interesting textures, bold flavors. This salad makes a great addition to any summer buffet.
Par-boil the octopodes ahead of time, then this salad can be prepared in just a few minutes on a hot barbecue. A grill basket makes cooking a snap!
Exotic. Smoky. Charred. Lemony.
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