How to cook tender octopus

Octopus is on my list of “recipes to do” for a very long time. Octopus is known as a very delicate food, which requires special attention and concentration! That is why I wanted to have enough time and fully dedicate myself, when preparing an octopus.
Last Saturday was THE octopus time! Before I begun my plans for the recipe, I spent some time on the web, researching different preparation options, and from a dozen different recipes, I wrote down 2 options, which seemed reasonable.
Option 1: First of the options is based on the fact that octopus, squid, calamari – they are all in the same family – cephalopod. This means that the cooking time should be not more than a couple of minutes, as the more you cook squid, the tougher it gets. I have cooked squid many times, and this theory is perfectly true for it – I usually cook it in heated pan for 2-3 minutes and it is ready to be served. This particular recipes explains that 3 separate pots with water should be brought to boil. The octopus should be dipped in the boiling water of the first pan for 15 seconds, then transferred to the second pan for 15 seconds and then to the third pan. Then it should be ready for serving, unless you would like to season it with roasted garlic and olive oil. However, it turns out that this is not enough time for the octopus to be cooked, in fact it was quite raw, yet.
Option 2: The second option explained that the octopus gets really tender if poached in olive oil, on low temperature for longer time – may be an hour or two. This option I did not manage to try, but is in my list of things to do, next time I buy octopus.
Option 3: A friend of mine shared a third option, which I wanted to give a try – boiling the octopus in water for 40 minutes. That’s it! So simple. To be honest I was a little skeptical about this recipe, but it turns out – it’s working. Exactly on the 40th minute, the octopus was just perfect – tender and delicious. Of course I could not help but add something from me, but you will read it later in the post.
Basically, I divided my octopus in two – placed the first part in boiling water for 40 minutes, and for the rest of the octopus I used Option 1…but it did not work, so I let it boil in a separate pot for 40 minutes as well.
In the first pot with octopus I added garlic and celery. In the second pot I added white wine to the water. There was a slight difference in the taste of both baches of octopus, but after roasted in a pan with garlic and herbs, you will barely notice the difference.
Make sure to add just a little water to boil (300-400 ml.). When you add the octopus, it will release it’s juices, and it will be tastier if it is boiled mostly in natural juices, than plain water.
Basically it turns out that cooking an octopus is not a rocket science, but an easy 40 minutes boiling. After the boiling, you are free to roast it with herbs and olive oil for a few minutes, or pour over with sauce.

Octopus (1 of 1)-41

1 octopus
5-6 garlic cloves
1 glass of white wine
1 celery (cut into pieces)
Salt & pepper

For pan frying:
2 tables poons olive oil
2 table spoons chives
1 table spoon garlic cloves, cut into smalll pieces
1 tables poon chili sauce (optional)

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As I explained earlier, I divided my octopus in two.
The first part I placed in a pot with 300 ml. boiling water, garlic and celery. Boil for 40 minutes.
The second part of the octopus I boiled in 200 ml. of boiling water + one glass of wine, celery and garlic. Boil the octopus for 40 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a deep pan. Add the garlic, chives and chili. Cook until slightly crisp. Add the octopus and cook on both sides for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm!

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For garnish I prepared a puree of chickpea, potatoes and chives.
3 large potatoes (boiled)
1 can of chickpea
2 table spoons chives (cut into small pieces)
Red pepper powder
Salt and pepper
1 tea spoon garlic powder
1 table spoon butter

Mash all the ingredients with a fork or in a blender. Add all the spices and the butter. I prefer to serve the garnish warm, so you could warm up the puree, and add the butter just before serving. Mix well so the butter melts.

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10 thoughts on “How to cook tender octopus

  1. I would like to add some option for cooking octopos from experience:

    Opt1: Boil the octupus in white wine till it gets white. Then grill for few minutes and cover with souce of lemon, garlic and olive oil. Its better for a starter with chilled white house wine .

    Opt2: Let the octupose sleep for one night in Coka cola. Then cock in water as usual util it becomes white.

    Alcohol and acid make meat tender. Enjoy.

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