I was bitten by an octopus. – Ted Cruz
After my last article talking about Greek wine and pre-cooked octopus I thought I would follow up with a very simple method to cook your own sea beast. There is a lot of unwarranted fear surrounding octopus. Granted they are weird looking sea creatures with beaks and tentacles and a notorious reputation for being frustratingly tough. I have seen both professional and home cooks avoid preparing it like the plague. Done right it is sublimely tender and takes to a variety of preparations from simple salads to tandoori spiced appetizers to stewed in tomato sauce. Done wrong and it becomes a rubbery sea flavored chewing gum. There are many myths about the best way to tenderize octopus. They range from dropping corks in the poaching liquid, rubbing them with salt, cooking only in copper, using your clothes dryer to tumble them into tender submission, beating them on rocks to dumping enough vinegar in the cooking liquid to make you pucker for a week straight. The simplest and best method is to steam in their own juices. Try this and you will never go back to whatever method you used to subscribe to.
I present my pictoral recipe, taming the sea beast.
Even a five year old will eat an octopus!
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 shallot, chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 pinch Herbs de Provence
- sea salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- Hard to imagine I actually wrote this as a recipe. Simply mix everything together and let macerate for an hour or so. Sometimes I get lazy and pulse in my blender.
- This goes great on grilled chicken, lamb, sardines or anything needing a burst of sunshine and flavor.