Most people see octopus as a creepy sea creature with tentacles and suckers that attack boats and scuba divers. They imagine octopus as being sort an ugly predator of the ocean, shooting a strange ink at their enemies. But for many people around the world, octopus is a delicacy of sorts. When prepared correctly it is considered quite the treat for fancy dining. When available at upscale restaurants, it can be quite expensive. So if you are considering cooking octopus for yourself, here are some tips on how to prepare it and cook it correctly.
The first thing you’ll want to do, as with most animals you’re planning to cook, is to clean it properly and remove the insides. Turn the octopus inside out and remove the stomach and entrails; you don’t want to eat these so discard them properly. Turn the octopus right side out again and rinse it thoroughly. Next locate the beak, located in the middle of the tentacles, and remove it as well. If this is too much work or a little bit unpleasant to perform, you can usually ask the fish store clerk to do it for you at point of purchase.
Octopus meat is not easy to chew and needs to be tenderized and loosened for a while before cooking. To make the octopus more edible you’ll need to tenderize it by roasting it in a warm oven for two hours or in a sauce pan on a very low heat for about an hour and a half.
Once this has been completed and the octopus is tender you can thoroughly cook it. There are several different ways to cook an octopus with many different recipes and ingredients you can try. It’s up to you as to wish you desire the most. Some enjoy octopus grilled. To prepare octopus this way you’ll want to coat the meat with spices of your choice; salt, pepper, oregano, etc. Or perhaps marinate it for awhile in vinegar or olive oil beforehand. Once it is prepared you can place it onto to a grill with a medium heat and cook it for fifteen minutes turning it every five minutes. Most people enjoy octopus with fresh lemon juice applied after it has finished cooking.
You may also want to saut your octopus. Just like grilling, you’ll want to first rub the octopus with the spices of your choice or marinate it for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking. Then place the octopus in a saut pan with butter at a medium-high temperature. It should cook for no longer than 3 minutes or so. Some shrinkage should be expected as it cooks. The more you overcook it the tougher it will become. Serve it with pasta or noodles and top with lemon juice.
There are many other recipes and ideas on how to cook octopus available on the internet and in cook books. Experiment with different spices and ingredients until you find a combination that you enjoy the most. It may seem like a food you won’t enjoy. But when cooked properly and served tenderly, it is a delicious entree for those looking for something different.