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Old 11-27-2017, 12:29 PM   #1
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Octopus Questions

Hello everyone. I'm new here and hope that I am posting this question in the right place.

There are scores of methods to cook octopus to ensure that it's "tender". There are also many preparations prior to cooking which supposedly reduce cooking time as well as ensuring tenderness. One method is to pound it against rocks (probably an old method from the Old Country). This method would probably be very messy in the kitchen and might yield widely different results depending on what kind of pounding tool is used, evenness of pounding, and duration of pounding. I'd also think that too much of this would cut/deform the tentacles and cause the suckers to dislodge.

I have found that LOOOOOOONG boiling time is the only way to fully tenderize this noble animal's flesh. I'm talking 2 1/2 - 3 hours for a 7 pound animal. Time is not an issue. The downside is that in order to go from "cooked, but rubbery/tough" to "cooked and melt in your mouth tender" that final 1-2 hours of cooking causes STARTLING additional shrinkage.

Example: Buy a 7 pound frozen octopus, which will leave about 5 1/2 pounds after thawing. Cook for about an hour will leave about 4 pounds of rubbery fish. Cook an additional 1 1/2 hours will leave about 2 1/2 pounds of very tender fish.

So, in my opinion, the additional cooking time renders every last drop of water out or the creature, causing the flesh to fully tenderize...........but at an alarming reduction in size.

Sorry for the long winded post. How does my reasoning sound to all of you? Are there any tips on how to have a tender octopus without the drastic reduction in weight after cooking?

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Old 11-28-2017, 07:27 PM   #2
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I've never had "melt in your mouth octopus" before, but the best I've ever had, the most tender was simply cleaned and very quickly charcoal grilled over high heat (a small bellow was used), then served with a drizzle of top quality olive oil, lemon, and fresh parsley.

The legs were grilled separately from the sliced body since they were of different thicknesses.
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:57 PM   #3
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My understanding is that octopus has to be either cooked hot and fast, or cooked for a long, long time. In between those two extremes you get rubber bands.

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Old 11-28-2017, 08:16 PM   #4
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I've also never had "melt in our mouth" octopus.
When I have them I have them as sashimi or sushi.
I've also had them in Mexican seafood soup a few times.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:20 PM   #5
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My understanding is that octopus has to be either cooked hot and fast, or cooked for a long, long time. In between those two extremes you get rubber bands.

CD

similar to cooking calamari...


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Old 11-28-2017, 08:42 PM   #6
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Three minutes or three hours..
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Old 11-28-2017, 09:54 PM   #7
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In 2012, FrankZ and Kathleen had success with octopus..
http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...pus-79079.html

A couple years later, they also did one with their new (to most of us), Anova Sous Vide.

I sure miss seeing them around here!!
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:16 AM   #8
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Three minutes or three hours..
^^^ This ^^^

You can quickly stir fry octopus and it will be perfectly edible. Go beyond that point, and you have to cook it for a while to tenderize it.
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:41 AM   #9
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Roadfix, Buckytom,

Well, maybe "melt in your mouth" is not quite it. I think "fork tender" might explain it OK although I like Kathleen's description better here in post #9.:

http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...pus-79079.html


My point being that the flesh becomes much more tender if cooked past about 2 hours at a covered low/medium boil.

I know that the Greeks grill it. It would be great to know just how much shrinkage occurs with the "hot and fast" method.

My Christmas gift to my family is to make Frutti di Mare for our Christmas Eve meal. The ingredients are boiled shrimp, octopus, calamari, scungilli and chopped celery and parsley in a sauce of EVOO, garlic, lemon juice and oregano salt pepper to taste. I don't think that grilled octopus would go well here since all the fish is boiled. It would probably overpower the dish to the exclusion of the other fishes.

I might try grilling a "test" octopus to see how it works out using the above link as a guide.
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:32 AM   #10
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Let us know of your results, ya mook. (I just saw your name and location).

Maybe for the next family get together: (NSFW)

https://youtu.be/5Lg-uDy9wsc
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:56 AM   #11
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Let us know of your results, ya mook. (I just saw your name and location).

Maybe for the next family get together: (NSFW)

https://youtu.be/5Lg-uDy9wsc
So..............ya tink yer funny? Just how funny.............huh?
a
a
a
a
a
a
a
a
a
a
a
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a


.............aaaaaaaaahahahah, I got you dere, didn't I!!!
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:38 PM   #12
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Lol, welcome to DiscussCooking. Glad to have another Jersey guy here.

Stick around and talk about food and cooking a lil bit.
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Old 11-29-2017, 05:16 PM   #13
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Lol, welcome to DiscussCooking. Glad to have another Jersey guy here.

Stick around and talk about food and cooking a lil bit.
Hey Tom.

It seems that grilling is generally used after par boiling/blanching in order to impart a smoky or charred aspect to the octopus.

That's not what I'm looking for and so I don't care to experiment with the grilling process.

I'm trying to achieve what I have already achieved...........tender flesh..........with less shrinkage.


I think I will experiment with pounding the raw octopus. Maybe this will break the muscle fibers enough to render a tender flesh without excessive loss of mass.
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:53 PM   #14
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I'll have to ask the Greek joint I go to in the city how they make theirs. It is grilled, but I don't know what they do to prep it.
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Old 12-07-2017, 02:14 AM   #15
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One method is to pound it against rocks (probably an old method from the Old Country). This method would probably be very messy in the kitchen and might yield widely different results depending on what kind of pounding tool is used, evenness of pounding, and duration of pounding. I'd also think that too much of this would cut/deform the tentacles and cause the suckers to dislodge.
Joe, I'm not from Jersey, though my Mom is from Manesquan ;) Us PA types know Jersey, and I'd be happy to sell you a set of my very consistent octupus pounding rocks, harvested from the banks of the Delaware. Can get you a good price on them. They produce consistent results due to all the octopusologists here at UPenn. which is SO much better than Rutgers. You can catch the rythym of pounding them for max tenderness with any Billy Joel song about Allentown, or Bruce Springsteen's Philadelphia, just Philadelphia though. Other Springsteen songs could cause your octopus to explode.

Our rivalry aside (note: Philly residents of PA and NJ have a kind of rivalry)

I have only cooked octopus a couple of times, and mixed. A marinate helps with some acid to break down the protien. What you want to avoid is, as you said rubbery texture. I'm thinking the next time I see it available at a decent price, marinate overnight in something acid, grill it to a sear, but not much more. This is a guess, a decent guess, but a guess.

Beloved wife and I are planning on a couple of camping trips over the deleware into NJ, drop me a line if you want to participate. Winter camping in NJ is awesome, Wharton State Park, and Allaire SP has beach camping in the winter. We normally have nice food, even a lot of state parks don't allow fires anymore and we have to work off the propane stoves.

Anyway, I totally despise NJ, Lets Go Flyers! Devils suck.. though with this season I should stick with the Eagles.

Cheers,

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Old 12-07-2017, 11:41 AM   #16
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Joe, I'm not from Jersey, though my Mom is from Manesquan ;) Us PA types know Jersey, and I'd be happy to sell you a set of my very consistent octupus pounding rocks, harvested from the banks of the Delaware. Can get you a good price on them. They produce consistent results due to all the octopusologists here at UPenn. which is SO much better than Rutgers. You can catch the rythym of pounding them for max tenderness with any Billy Joel song about Allentown, or Bruce Springsteen's Philadelphia, just Philadelphia though. Other Springsteen songs could cause your octopus to explode.

Our rivalry aside (note: Philly residents of PA and NJ have a kind of rivalry)

I have only cooked octopus a couple of times, and mixed. A marinate helps with some acid to break down the protien. What you want to avoid is, as you said rubbery texture. I'm thinking the next time I see it available at a decent price, marinate overnight in something acid, grill it to a sear, but not much more. This is a guess, a decent guess, but a guess.

Beloved wife and I are planning on a couple of camping trips over the deleware into NJ, drop me a line if you want to participate. Winter camping in NJ is awesome, Wharton State Park, and Allaire SP has beach camping in the winter. We normally have nice food, even a lot of state parks don't allow fires anymore and we have to work off the propane stoves.

Anyway, I totally despise NJ, Lets Go Flyers! Devils suck.. though with this season I should stick with the Eagles.

Cheers,

TBS
Thanks. That was all very useful information, but I have developed what I consider a superior pre cooking process:

First: I intend to jack up a wheel of my car, put the cephalopod on the bare concrete garage floor (which is kinda, sorta like a rock) put a 12" x 12" piece of plywood atop the beast and drop the jack abruptly upon the poor creature. I'll let it sit overnight with the weight of my 1958 Edsel bearing upon it as the calcium hydroxide in the concrete works its magic! Next...........I'll marinate it in a slurry of garlic, parsley and sodium hydroxide to create the perfect consistency. PRESTO, it shouldn't require much cooking after this.
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:24 AM   #17
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Thanks. That was all very useful information, but I have developed what I consider a superior pre cooking process:

First: I intend to jack up a wheel of my car, put the cephalopod on the bare concrete garage floor (which is kinda, sorta like a rock) put a 12" x 12" piece of plywood atop the beast and drop the jack abruptly upon the poor creature. I'll let it sit overnight with the weight of my 1958 Edsel bearing upon it as the calcium hydroxide in the concrete works its magic! Next...........I'll marinate it in a slurry of garlic, parsley and sodium hydroxide to create the perfect consistency. PRESTO, it shouldn't require much cooking after this.
That should do it. I'd through a couple slabs of scrapple on there, and use a '65 El Camino, but that would be more south Philly style.
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:47 PM   #18
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Because grilling and charring/caramelization is not appropriate for the dish that I'll make for Christmas, I am more inclined to give the beating process a try, albeit with great care, before I slow simmer the octopus in a large pot full of water.

I am a firm opponent of the perpetual motion machine although I suppose that miracles might be possible. We'll see.
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:52 AM   #19
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I like a marinate, acid like cider vinegar or lemon juice covers a lot of sins.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:02 AM   #20
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After all the fish are cooked and cooled, I cut them all into bite sized pieces, chop the celery and garlic, combine everything and let it all sit in the liquid sauce which consists of lemon (acid), olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt/pepper. The longer it sits in the marinade the more the flavors develop. I usually mix it all together 2 days before serving, keep it covered and mix it every 5-6 hours to keep the liquid distributed. Keep it in a cold place but not the fridge. The left over portion always tastes better as time goes by. It lasts awhile, so I make a lot extra and continue to enjoy it for a couple of weeks after Christmas Eve.
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