I caught an octopus today, he was orange and very cool looking. Gilbert (the octopus, ye we named him) weighs around 2 pounds. I googled how to cook octopus and got all kinds of crazy and conflicting answers. Have any of you cooked an octopus? The googling I did made me very confused but I think I ended up with two options: grill on a very hot and smokey grill or do a long tedious process: blanch for 30 seconds, bake at 200 covered for 4 hours, let cool in own juices, drain juices and reduce them to render as sauce
I'm japanese, and Octopus, or Tako, makes amazing sashimi. And sashimi is paleo as all get-out.
Here's a youtube tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWGNisuNdzo
6th grade marine bio class we dissected squid then deep fried them up into calamari. I'd dredge the tentacles in some sort of paleo flour mixture, coconut flour maybe? then fry in coconut oil. that's just my best suggestion.
I cook octopus on the regular, it's one of my kids' favorite foods (go figure). We get either baby octupi (about 2-3 inches across each) at a local Whole Foods, or sometimes larger ones (or just the tentacles) at a local Asian market.
Generally the rule I follow with octopus and squid (and certain cuts of beef like flank steak) is to cook it quick and at high temp, or for a long time a low temp (i.e. braise).
The "quick high heat" method works better on smaller animals, with a larger and tougher beast your best option is probably to braise.
I have never cleaned an octopus caught in the wild, but I've seen it done. You need to gut it and there are membranes around the suction cups that need to be removed. The baby ones that I buy at the market are cut through the head, I suspect that the guts come out that way. I was in Greece once and saw a boy catch an octopus, gut it, and then splay it open and rub it against a large rock to rub away the membrane.
I usually marinate them in olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, lots of fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and maybe some fresh herbs (basil or parsley), then either pan-fry or grill them quick (just until they're opaque all the way through), or pan fry them for a minute or two, add a cup of wine/stock, cover, and cook for 30 minutes until tender through.
From what I understand about it, it can be very tough if you cook it improperly. You can slice it thin and cook it quick (under two minutes), or you can stew it or braise it.
Here's a reprint of Mark Bittman's take on it - he's a pretty good resource for the home cook: http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/souptonuts/fish_octopus.html
Squid and octopus can be cooked for two lengths of time only. You can do a really quick stir fry or deep fry, or you could do a longer stir fry. Anything in between will make the flesh rubbery and hard to eat.
If you do calamari, I recommend doing it the Korean/Asian way. Scoring it in slanted diagonal across the flesh, cutting the pieces in one inch squares, dredging it in tapioca starch, and deep frying (twice for extra crispiness).
Another awesome Korean dish is a octopus stir fry called Ojingeo Bokkuem. (http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/recipe-review/cooking-korean-ojingo-bokum-066600)
I love squid and octopus, but I CANNOT clean it properly for the life of me. It's just the most weirdest thing I've ever encountered and I couldn't handle it. I mean, it has an ink sack, tentacles, eyes, a spine, and even A BEAK. Its like part fish, part animal, part bird. Luckily my asian grocer sells cleaned squid.
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