How to prepare octopus?
OK, finally got 2 pounds of frozen, ready to be cooked octopus from Wegmans... now how in the world do I grill it? I would love to make it just like the grilled Ock you get in quality Greek restaurants. anyone have any tried and true methods?
Prep tip: Depending on the size of the beast, you may want to tenderize with a meat hammer to break it down some. You sometimes really need to work on it to make large pieces tender enough to enjoy with mouthful sized bites. Marinate/baste it in the vineagrette of your choice. Soaking it in sherry or marsala also adds a nice flavor.
Cooking tip: Don't over do it. If it was frozen/thawed correctly, you can barely undercook it. If overcooked, it tends to dry out (hence the reason so many Greek restaurants pour massive amounts of oil over it). I like to cook it over wood to give it a little smoke.
I don't know if this is too late, but below is a copy and paste of one of my fishing buddy's recipe.
You have to pound the tentacales with an abalone mallet & stretch them before you pound them.
You bring a salted pot of water to a boil, [ this is important ], you dip each arm or tentacale into the water 3 times [ for approx 3 seconds ] before letting it fall into the boiling pot.
Once it's all in the pot & back to a boil, turn the heat down to a nice soft boil & an octopus that size needs to soft boil for at least 45 minutes.
Once it's been cooking 45 minutes [ very important ] turn the heat off & leave the fish in the water until it cools all the way off.
Remove each arm from the pot & remove all the purple slimy skin leaving the suckers entact on the arms.
Slice into 1/2" - 1" pieces, slice a big sweet red onion & toss with fish, pour some vegatable oil [ not olive because it coagulates when cooled ], add a good slug of good red wine vinegar, salt, pepper & lemon pepper & enjoy.
It's comparable to lobster when done right.
The flesh is absolutly pure white & the texture depends on how well you stretched it & pounded it before cooking.
If you pound it to much you ruin the texture, if not enough, it's like eating a football.
For optimum flavor & texture, best served at room temp or slightly warm,...it gets tough if it's served cold but if you intend to keep it a day or 2, it must be refridgerated, it gets tender again as it warms to room temp.
It's just about my favorite fish next to petrale sole, ono [ wahoo ] & striper.
If you follow those steps, you will love it, if not, your gonna chew a looooong time.
You could always try Nakji Bokum, a Korean spicy stir fry
Nakji Bokum (Spicy Stir Fried Octopus)
1 lb octopus
1/2 white or yellow onion
2 fresh chili or jalapeño peppers
1 small carrot
1 small red or green bell pepper
4 to 6 shiitake or one cluster (1/2 cup) coral mushroom
1 tablespoon sesame cooking oil
Stir Fry Sauce
2 1/2 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili paste)[substitute]
2 tablespoon fine ground chili powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
5 cloves fresh garlic
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 green onions
Wash octopus well in cold water.
Cut tentacles from head, then cut into 2 1/2 inch sections.
Open head and remove the insides.
Cut head into equal sized strips (quarters or eighths).
Wash carrot and thinnly slice.
Cut onion in half from top to bottom, then thin slice (about 1/8 inch thick).
Remove stem from chili/jalapeño peppers, cut in half from top to bottom, and slice into thin slivers.
Cut bell pepper in half from top to bottom, then thin slice into strips.
Thin Slice mushrooms.
Crush or mince garlic into a medium mixing bowl.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix well.
Let stand at least fifteen minutes.
Add octopus to sauce and let stand for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Heat a stir fry pan over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium.
Quickly add sesame cooking oil and carrot.
Stir fry for two minutes.
Add onion and peppers and stir fry for one minute.
Add all other ingredients and stir fry for about five minutes (Octopus sections should curl somewhat).
Serve hot with sticky rice and ban chan.
I'm in the same fix and looking for suggestions also. Sent a man to the store for some seafood items (I even wrote it down!), and he comes back from the asian market with 2# of baby frozen octopus. I used the other stuff to make paella (twice last weekend), so don't suggest that, please.
But he wants those octopi- I like the suggestions so far- any more?
And, do they need any cleaning/gutting/prep like the squids?
I would make the classic Spanish tapa/racion Pulpo Gallego, but you would need relatively thick tentacles rather than baby octopus. It is easy to make and so simple and delicious.
If your octopus is not already cleaned, it will require some relatively teduous cleaning, similar to a squid. I've seen live octopus that have been eviscerated still squirm around and try to escape. Actually, cleaning them then freezing them is a good way to actually kill them.
So, take your tentacles and put them in boiling, salted water along with some peeled potatoes. Yukon golds or the like work best. Then, when the potatoes are fork tender, so is the octopus. It is that easy. Slice the potatoes into slices like very thick potato chips. Slice the octopus into slightly thicker "silver dollars." On a plate (in Spain this is almost always made of wood) put the potato slices on it, the octopus on top of that, then douse with a high quality olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and sprinkle also with pimenton. That's it. This can be finished in the oven for a minute or two if necessary.
This is one of my favorite dishes - it is so easy and so good. Try it sometime.
These are a perfect addition to a "Fra Diavolo" red sauce; they work great on top of pizza's with anchovies, capers, black olives; as ceviche, or pickled with vineagar and lemon for an antipasto. If fresh, they work very well as sushi (fisherman bringing in the local catch in southern Italy used to torment my mom by demostrating how delicious they were by taking a handfull from their catch and eating them straight up, accompanied by the morning portion of grappa or sip of wine). Depending on size, these can also be substituted for fried calamari.
Preparation depends on the size. If small/young enough, the beaks are quite edible and ink not too distracting. If I'm preparing for my wife, I usually cut the beaks out as she doesn't like to eat things that look back at her. My boys (now 6 and 8) on the other hand, love it au natural.
whole baby okkies or bits??
For whole babies, I toss 'em in OO and just whack on the grill/BBQ, wait until the tentacles have curled up, turn them over, so the bodies cook to just firm, and serve with a wedge of lemon on a bed of bitter greens.
For bits, dry them thoroughly, dredge them in seasoned cornflour and fry in sesame oil in the wok till crispy.
Serve with finely chopped birds eye chillis and lemon juice
re: purple goddess
Don't be so negative...
The key to good Ockie is to cook it quick and high.
You can marinate it in whatever.. if you want Greek, I'd go OO, garlic, lemon jiuce and oregano (I find rosemary is too strong a flavour for delicate Ockies)..
Bung em all on the BBQ grill and wait until they're just firm, and serve.
You can also do it long and slow, in a pan with tomato puree and olives.
Soak the ockies in milk for an hour or two.. drain, whack in a pan with puree, black olives, some lemon peel and some crushed garlic and slow cook until tender.
let us know how it goes!!!