It’s like once you figure out your approach to cooking it, the rest is just observation.
And it was fucking fascinating.Let me see if I can try and break this thing down.Because the first thing you think is, how the fuck am I supposed to cook this shit?
You hit up Google and there’s like thousands of articles on how to cook it, the consensus being to cook it on low heat for a long time.
But then there’s the issue of preserving the natural flavor.
I won’t get into all of it here because someone else already did over here.
But basically, boiling it tends to rid it of its natural flavor.
Brining it breaks down the fibrous texture quicker than boiling but also doesn’t do much for the flavor.
Steaming it with a pressure cooker seemed like a good way to go but – of course I don’t own a fucking pressure cooker.
But then I found out that like mussels & clams, octopus also releases its own juices when heated which meant I could self-braise it.
Looking for tenderness and natural preservation of flavor – this was it.
This was the goddamn jackpot.
Before I self-braised the octopus, I blanched it in hot water for about 30 secs.
And as soon as I did this it went from it’s colorless long, limp state to almost a rigid state with the tentacles immediately curling up in this beautiful shade of purple.
I don’t know why but I thought this was so freaking neat.
I just get the biggest kick out of watching food transform.
What I Used
2-4lb Fresh or Thawed Octopus. 1 cup Olive Oil. 1 tbsp Garlic Powder. 1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper. Salt. Pepper. 2 Bay Leaves. 1 tbsp Minced Garlic. 1 small handful Assorted Fresh Greens.
What I Did
Pre-heat the oven to 200F.
Fill a large pot with enough water to completely immerse the octopus in.
Place it over high heat, salt the water and bring to a boil.
Drizzle the olive oil over the octopus and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, minced garlic & the bay leaves.
It’s ok to be generous with the seasoning.
Cover the baking dish and place in the oven.
When tender, remove the octopus from the baking dish a place on a cutting board to rest.
Pour the remaining liquid into a sauce pan and boil down over a med flame.
When the liquid has reduced to a slightly thick sauce, remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, when the octopus is warm enough to handle, cut the tentacles from the skirt (where the tentacles meet the head).
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over a med-high flame and saute the tentacles until either side is golden brown, slightly crispy.