How To Cook Octopus
Octopuses are found in all of Earth’s oceans and are usually solitary animals. They have been around for about 300 million years! They are also called the devilfish, the devil’s fish, and the sea devil. And they are a mouthwatering treat if prepared well.
Octopus is not easy to cook because it has tough flesh that needs tenderizing before cooking. It can be boiled, fried, or grilled, but some people prefer to boil it first before frying it or grilling it because boiling makes its flesh tenderer.
Cooking octopus can seem like an immense task, especially when you read that it’s tough to prepare. But you shouldn’t be afraid because it’s not that difficult if you have an excellent octopus recipe and follow all the steps.
So, let us introduce you to the finest octopus recipe and teach you how to prepare the best-cooked octopus. If you want to impress your guest the next time they come over for dinner, keep reading.
Why Would You Want to Eat Octopus
Octopus is a trendy dish in Mediterranean countries, especially Greece. It is also popular in Japan, where it is called tako. Octopus can be eaten raw, boiled, grilled, fried, or pickled.
The octopus’s dark grayish-brown skin has a leathery texture and eight juicy tentacles. The succulent tentacles are the star of the show, and whatever the cooking method you use, you will enjoy a delicious meal if you prepare them right.
Best Way to Cook Octopus – The Basics
As mentioned, the cooked octopus can seem intimidating primarily because it looks like a beast when you see it raw. And the best way to prepare octopus is by using a lengthy cooking technique. When you combine the two, the looks of it and the time you need to invest in preparing, many people tend to get scared and give up even before trying.
But we will do our best to teach you how to do this, and you won’t be afraid anymore.
So, let’s start with the basic techniques you need to use on the journey to the most succulent and deliciously cooked octopus.
Preparing the Octopus
Although cutting an octopus before preparing it is possible, it is usually simpler to cook it whole and then chop it. And if you try to cut it while it’s still raw, you may have difficulty doing it because of its slippery nature. So, it’s better to stir clear from it, especially if you are a beginner.
A good thing about buying an octopus at fishmongers or supermarkets is that it’s already prepared. And by prepared, we mean its head has been cleaned, and you don’t need to do anything. The only thing you can do before cooking is rinse it with water because sometimes there’s still sand there.
How To Tenderize an Octopus Before Cooking
Believe it or not, you can freeze and defrost it before preparing it, and the frozen water crystals will help tenderize it. This step is done if you buy an octopus that’s already frozen.
But if it needs a little more work, massage the tentacles for at least 15 minutes with sea salt.
No matter how you choose to prepare it, the octopus must be cooked until tender. Even if you intend to grill or sear the octopus in the end, you must first cook it so that it is suitably soft. There are numerous approaches, some of which are quicker than others.
Cooked Octopus in a Pot
The most straightforward and best way to cook octopus is in a pot on a stovetop. It will make the meat tender and prepare it exactly as it should.
There’s nothing fancy about it; you take a pot, fill it with water, and you’ll have tender tentacles after an hour.
By inserting a knife into one of the tentacles, you may test the tenderness of the octopus. The octopus is cooked if the blade quickly penetrates the thickest section of the meat.
To make the meat softer before grilling, barbecuing, or pan-frying, some moisture in the octopus can be eliminated by sun-drying, and it will become chewy and rubbery if part of the moisture from the flesh isn’t removed.
Cooking Octopus – Additional Methods
Once your octopus is ready after cooking it until it is tender, you have a few options for serving it: you may do it hot straight away, chill it and utilize it that way in cold dishes, or sear or grill it to give the outside a browned, crisp texture.
It’s a good idea to cool the cooked octopus before searing and grilling to firm the skin and prevent it from flaking off during the following cooking.
Since the octopus has already been cooked to the perfect tenderness, you need to heat each side for a short period to achieve the proper level of browning and to warm it up. It would be best to prepare it over a high heat source, such as a barbecue or in a scorching hot skillet. When you finish grilling or searing, it’s ready for you to serve as you like.
The Best Octopus Recipes – How to Serve It
You can use many octopus recipes to serve it; the one you’ll use depends on your preferences.
It also depends on how you finalized the meat, whether you left it cooked, seared it, or grilled it.
Octopus has a mild flavor, but seasoning it thoroughly and drizzling it with high-quality olive oil usually suffices. Preparing it like this is enough if you plan on using it cooked, and it goes great in fresh salads.
If you cooked it on a barbeque or it should have a nice charred and smoky flavor, you don’t need to season it.
As this is seafood that’s especially popular in the Mediterranean, you can use condiments and spices typical for this part of the world. Try spicing the meat with lemon, chopped parsley, and fennel. And don’t forget to serve it with a glass of excellent white wine.
Do you still think this seafood beast takes more work to prepare? It may involve more work if you want to sear or grill it after cooking, but everything is straightforward, and you shouldn’t be intimidated by it.
If you love to cook and enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, we encourage you to try making it as soon as possible. Play with the recipes and find the one that you like the most. And remember one thing, always use top-quality ingredients. You will use only a few of them while preparing this seafood, so don’t use cheap ones. If you want to drizzle olive oil over it, always use an extra-virgin olive oil that’s excellent quality, and don’t settle for less.
And to make the best meal, you first need to try the dish elsewhere to see how it looks and tastes. And the best place to try it is at a restaurant made by professional chefs.
So, if you have yet to try this kind of seafood or have tried it and didn’t like it, we invite you to Stiltsville Fish Bar to try our grilled octopus; that’s the best. Contact us today to book your reservation!