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Tender Octopus with Orange Butter Sauce

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Tender Octopus with Orange Butter Sauce

Octopus is intimidating until you actually cook one. Admittedly, cleaning octopus is not the most fun experience you will ever have. But after that, a couple of simple tricks will yield glorious results. You get credit for an amazing presentation and tender sweet delicate bite, when frankly, octopus just comes that way.

tender octopus with orange butter sauce

tender octopus with orange butter sauce

Here’s how…

Thaw octopus (see how below in the recipe). While it would be optimal to get a fresh octopus straight fro Portuguese waters, thee is no need to avoid frozen octopus from your local Asian market. Freezing octopus actually makes them more tender.

Clean octopus, if it is not clean already. Frozen octopus often comes pre-cleaned.

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If your octopus needs to be cleaned, here’s how.

Carefully remove the inside of the cap, including the ink sac. Try not to break the ink sac – messy.

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That’s pretty much all you need to do before cooking.

Fill a large pot with enough water to submerge octopus. Add salt to the water. If desired, throw in a splash of wine for flavor and color (if its red wine). Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.

Invert the hood of the octopus to make it easy to hold with one or two fingers.

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Dip the octopus into the simmering water for 3 seconds.

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Then lift it completely out of the water again. The legs will start to curl. Keep it out of the water for a few seconds.

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Repeat this 2 or 3 more times, dipping and removing. This will temper the octopus keep it tender.

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Then submerge the octopus into the water completely. Lower the heat to braise the octopus slowly. Cook until tender.

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When you insert a knife into the octopus body, at the top of the legs, and it resists slightly, it is done. It should feel like a baked potato.

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Remove the octopus from the water and allow it to rest for a few minutes. It usually takes about 50 minutes to cook, however, some will cook much faster, others much slower. Just check on it periodically. Do not overcook!

Fabricating your cooked tender octopus: Remove the hood, and the head (eyes) from the legs. Discard the head/eyes. (Or you can eat the eyes if you want to.) The hood has a membrane which is tough and should be peeled away and discarded. Slice the hood into little rings. The legs can be cut into bite-sized pieces.

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fabrication1

The little suction cups on the legs should still be there when cooked. If they have fallen off, the octopus has cooked too long and will likely be tough. You can eat all of this, or you can pull the suction cups away. But it is so much prettier when they are still attached.

Presentation

Octopus is gorgeous no matter how you plate it. Here are some whole octopus presentations … because I was having fun. Octopus bites scattered on a salad is delicious and beautiful.

tender octopus with orange butter sauce

tender octopus with sauteed assorted seafood bits and rambutan

tender octopus with orange butter sauce

tender octopus with assorted seafood bits

How to Serve Aliens - octopus

tender whole octopus with orange butter sauce

tender octopus with orange butter sauce

tender octopus with orange butter sauce

Tender Octopus

A good serving size is about 4-6 ounces per person. 

Ingredients:

  • frozen octopus
  • a big pot of water
  • optional: wine to flavor the big pot of water
  • salt
  • orange beurre blanc sauce – recipe here

Method

Thaw octopus gently by covering it with a wet paper towel and keeping it in the fridge. If desired, you can then place the octopus in a brine of salty water, and refrigerate for a few hours to tenderize. But if you cook it carefully, brining is not necessary.

Clean octopus, if it is not clean already. Frozen octopus often comes pre-cleaned. If not, just follow the steps above on this post. Fill a large pot with enough water to submerge octopus. Add salt to the water. If desired, throw in a splash of wine for flavor and color (if its red). Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.

Invert the hood of the octopus to make it easy to hold with one or two fingers. Dip the octopus into the simmering water for 3 seconds. Then lift it completely out of the water again. The legs will start to curl. Keep it out of the water for a few seconds. Repeat this 2 or 3 more times, dipping and removing. This will temper the octopus keep it tender. Then submerge the octopus into the water completely. Lower the heat to braise the octopus slowly. Cook until tender. When you insert a knife into the octopus body, at the top of the legs, and it resists slightly, it is done. It should feel like a baked potato. Remove the octopus from the water and allow it to rest for a few minutes. It usually takes about 50 minutes to cook, however, some will cook much faster, others much slower. Just check on it periodically. Do not overcook!

Fabricating your cooked tender octopus: Remove the hood, and the head (eyes) from the legs. Discard the head/eyes. (Or you can eat the eyes if you want to.) The hood has a membrane which is tough and should be peeled away and discarded. Slice the hood into little rings. The legs can be cut into bite-sized pieces.

The little suction cups on the legs should still be there when cooked. If they have fallen off, the octopus has cooked too long and will likely be tough. You can eat all of this, or you can pull the suction cups away. But it is so much prettier when they are still attached.

Note: There are, of course, other ways to slow cook octopus. After tempering it, you can place it in a 200º oven, in a large covered pot, either in cooking water or dry to cook in its own juices. It will take a few hours to cook this way.

Serve with Orange Beurre Blanc, another sauce, or on a salad, anyway you like!

Enjoy!

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