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Octopus: Is this supposed to happen?

I've braised octopus a couple of times, and want to make sure what I'm doing is supposed to happen. After braising till tender, when I take it out, the skin comes off, along with all the suckers, leaving just smooth tentacles. Is this right?

Also, 5 pounds of Octopus is yielding about 1 pound of cooked, tender meat. Am I cooking TOO long?

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  1. the skin is gelatinous and not everybody likes it. i do. these critters do shrink a lot, but cooking time does matter. it's either quick or low and slow. smaller, "baby" octopi offer greater yield, btw.

    if you're happy with the result, i wouldn't sweat it. octopus is pretty cheap.

    eta: when you say "braise", are you actually browning the octopus? i wouldn't do that. just pan-saute or stew it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Not searing first. Braising in the sense of low and slow heat covered in liquid to about 3/4 depth.

      1. re: sbp

        next time, just try cooking it a bit less. take it out just before you think it might be finished. its own heat will continue to cook it a bit more while you get everything else ready.

    2. Octopus is difficult. It must first be "tenderized" with force, and then cooked, but over-cooking makes it tough. I admire those who cook it correctly, especially on a grilll with a dry rub. When it is good it is very, very, good, but when it it is bad it is horrid. I have never done it correctly, except as a ceviche ingredient.

      3 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          Nah, my braised Octopus cooked for 4 hours at 300. You could cut it with a spoon. Very tender.

          1. re: Veggo

            octopus is one of those things that people have hundreds of superstitions about cooking.

            I do like mentioned above - about 4 hours at 300 - that is for a whole large octopus.

            I've never had my suckers pull off though, not sure what that is about.

          2. Throw it on a really hot grill for 2 minutes and you're done. Flip it once.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pikawicca

              My grilled octopus with a dry rub is always tough. And my favorite restaurant that made it exquisitely in Playa del Carmen, Negrosal, is out of business. I give up, save for a few spots that include octopus in mixed ceviche.

            2. Five pounders is a pretty big octopus sold commercially. At that size it's pretty much certain you have to go 'low and slow and long' with the braise. Curious. Do you cut it up into bite size pieces first or braise the whole beast?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Puffin3

                It was two octopi total of 5 pounds. I don't cut it up first.

                I am curious as to the octopus used in sushi joints. It never looks like what I can buy. Huge slices. Where are they getting these?

                1. re: sbp

                  In Florida, octopi raid the bait in stone crab traps. One can buy good sized ones for just a few dollars apiece. It's mostly the chinese restaurant owners who buy them. There isn't much quality sushi in my part of Florida, I wish there were more.There are not many Japanese immigrants in this area, Sarasota to St. Pete.

                  1. re: sbp

                    A lot of sushi restaurants get frozen octopus, already cooked, from Japanese suppliers. I don't know how they cook them, but you can defrost and slice them and its what I've seen in most common Japanese restaurants these days.