Octopus

Octopus

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

A cephalopod, as is squid. The two resemble each other in that they have tentacles but no visible external shell. The best edible octopus is the small variety, with a maximum weight of about 500 g. Larger octopuses are usually not as tender as their smaller cousins.

Octopus can be stewed, fried or stuffed and baked like squid (see Squid). The larger ones need the longest cooking. Little octopuses can be gently fried in olive oil to make up a delicious salad, served warm with plenty of lemon juice, chopped garlic and chopped parsley.

Basic preparation: If your recipe calls for only the tentacles, ask the fishmonger to remove the head for you. Otherwise, cut off the tentacles, set aside and clean octopus by pulling out intestines and ink sac, reserving the latter if the octopus is to be cooked in its ink. Using kitchen shears or a very sharp knife, cut out the eyes and beak-like mouth and discard. Rinse well.

If octopus is large, it must be tenderised. After cleaning, pound with a heavy mallet or cleaver then strip off skin by rubbing with salt and rinsing well. Alternatively, simmer in water to cover for 1 hour, then peel off skin and proceed according to your recipe.

If octopus is under 500 g, omit pounding or simmering; simply rub off skin, rinse octopus well and proceed with recipe.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

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