If you ask 10 cooks how they prepare an Octopus, you will probably get 10 different answers.
I have heard of fisherman “smashing” the Cephalopod on rocks and hanging them out to dry for a while before grilling them, or housewives “beating the tentacles” before cooking in salted water (adding a wine cork), or avant guard cooks “confitting” them in flavoured Olive Oils, or steaming them in “Sous Vide” bags, the list goes on…
Why all the fuss? (I hear you say). Well, the short and quick answer is because Octopus has a reputation for being tough if not cooked properly, or “squidgy” if cooked too long.
My method of boiling the Octopus gives good results every time (well, for me anyway 😉 ), and is fairly easy.
The Octopus we buy comes frozen and already cleaned (when caught it is quickly frozen seeing as Octopus spoils quickly).
Once defrosted it is put in a pan of cold water (just to cover) with a whole sliced Daikon, bunch of Celery sticks and leaves, a few Bay Leaves, a chopped Onion, a split Carrot and half a bottle of white wine.
It is brought to the boil, you have to watch it at this moment otherwise your cooker will be full of overspill “Cappuchinolised Octopus Foam!!!”, when the water is boiling, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and set your timer for 1 hour. (You may have to top up the water depending on what you consider a “gentle simmer”, if so, make sure the water used is boiling hot).
When the hour has passed, remove the Octopus, which would have shrunk incredibly, and allow to cool. Once cooled, cover and place in the fridge until needed.
Living in Spain, Octopus is available in nearly every Tapas Bar, and is mainly served “a la Gallega” (Galician Style), on top of boiled potatoes and seasoned with Sea Salt, Olive Oil (a good one) and some Paprika powder.
It was this dish that gave the inspiration for ours. After cooking the Octopus as described above, it was then thinly sliced and covered with a Miso and Tamarind mix for a day or two, before being grilled.
Keeping with the Spanish theme, it was served with boiled Potato chunks cooked in Olive Oil (a good one). 🙂
It is served with Miso Mayo dollops and has a Sweet and Tangy taste.
Only the tentacles are used for this small dish (only available on the “Aharn Menu”), the Head we used for something else…
Octopus Head Yum, a simple salad of diced Cucumber and Octopus head tossed in Yuzu Sesame Vinaigrette.
A wedge of Lime is offered for those who like their Amuse Bouche more sour.
Seeing as the festive season is in full swing, we have (loads of) Turkey to prepare.
Our supplier is a local company that raises organic free-range poultry, they are a little bit more expensive, but the taste is so much better.
On behalf of the whole A-Team, we wish everyone a safe and happy festive season (just think of us working in the hot kitchen whilst you and you family/friends enjoy your parties.) 😦 😆