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Oct 7, 2011 07:33 AM


I just bought some octopus and would like a recipe. I had some wonderful grilled octopus at a Greek restaurant and would like to try to make it. On the package of octopus, there was a recipe that says to marinate the octopus in lemon juice for 30 minutes and then saute in butter with salt and pepper. Sounds easy enough! How do you prepare octopus or squid for that matter. Thanks.

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  1. My understanding it it needs to be simmmered for a few hours in liquid before grilling. Otherwise, it's like rubber. This is the only way I've ever made it. Unless your package has been pre-prepped.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I took McGee's advise when I last cooked an octopus.

        Quote from McGee's article "So try this instead. Blanch the unbrined octopus arms for 30 seconds in boiling water, cook them in a covered dry pan in a 200-degree oven for four or five hours or until tender, and cool them slowly in their own juices. Pour off the juices and boil them down to concentrate them. You get tender octopus and a flavorful, colorful, gelatinous sauce."

        Came out excellent. I did toss it on a hot grill to char it a little after I pulled it from my dutch oven

        No beating on the rocks or pounding with a hammer. No cork involved and no brining, just simple and easy prep per McGee

        1. re: scubadoo97

          I am curious to try this. DId you ever take the lid off the pan while cooking or did you just leave it alone for 4 hours or so? And how big was the octopus? I've always been afraid to buy one for fear of ruining it, but I've had some delicious octopus, mainly at Spanish restaurants, and would like to make it at home if I know there's a good chance of success.

      2. Keeping octopus tender is sort of a conundrum. The standard advice is it needs to be cooked either very briefly (not to a high internal temperature) or for a long time to avoid rubberiness.

        However, as great a food scientist as Harold McGee has struggled to get ideal results.
        ETA: Dammit - ips beat me to it.

        The Japanese have a technique I like for tough seafood where they cut a cross hatch into a thin piece of octopus but don't quite cut the whole way through the flesh. It's like you're cutting a section of mango into a dice before 'filleting' it or removing the skin. This cutting pattern makes it far easier to chew. But it does require some knife skill and fairly sharp knives. You can use toothpicks as guides to keep you from cutting the whole way through.

        The same basic principles apply to squid, though squid seems a bit more forgiving. Sous vide cooking is extremely useful for either, but that's only useful to you if you cook sous vide.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cowboyardee

          Have you done an octopus SV? And what were your parameters?

          1. re: wattacetti

            Sorry for lateness.

            I've cooked octopus at 144 for 12 hours with excellent results. Like with most seafood, I've had good results including seasonings inside the bag - some melted butter, tomato water, red pepper flakes and smoked paprika came out nice.

            I've also read recipes for cooking it at 180 or so for something like 5 hours. I haven't tried this yet. Obviously, the effect probably wouldn't be too different from a traditional braise or simmer, but SV can really concentrate the octopus' flavor.

            Speaking of concentrating flavor, I've gotten very tender results cooking squid sous vide. It seems to follow the same basic logic as cooking octopus SV but doesn't need as long a cooking time. But you have to be a little careful how you serve it because the resulting squiddiness can wind up overpowering. It's a strange effect for an animal that is often considered to have a very mild taste.

        2. One of my favourie dishes is Pulpo Gallego - Octopus with potatoes and paprika.
          All the receipes I've seen say freeze the octopus first before cooking to tenderize it.

          I found this which seems pretty authentic.