Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jonny vs. The Octopus

This was the first time I cooked octopus at home. I've finished it off by grilling it in kitchens before but never made the slimy guy start to finish. What I remembered was that to get an octopus tender, you really need to cook the hell out of it. Usually this is done by boiling it in salted water for 30 minutes or more. This seemed a little violent to me – I can't think of any other animal in any preparation that calls for boiling for half an hour.

Braising seemed a good alternative, same idea, gentler approach. After a little research, I learned that octopus has a very high moisture content which allows you to basically braise it in its own juices.

Making the octopus turned out to be a remarkably easy, albeit time consuming task. I briefly sweated some garlic, along with lemon zest, marjoram, thyme and chili. Then I threw the guy in there whole, and watched him grow:

Look at that!

Anyway, the octopus did in fact release a lot of liquid, though it didn't seem like quite enough in the pan, so I added some white wine.

1 and 1/2 hours later, the octopus was done. I paired it with potatoes, as the Galicians do, and
finished with chopped parsley, red onion, a little extra chili and tons of olive oil.

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