Need help with octopus tapas

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by mignonette, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. mignonette

    mignonette

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    Wondering how to really tenderize my cooked octopus I got from the fish martket. My goal is to make a braised version of Galician style octopus. (Octopus, olive oil, potatoes and paprika) This version is in bite-size chunks served as tapas, both times I've had it, it's been served in Spanish latas or cazuelas.

    I've tried to make it twice and although the flavor is where I want it, the octopus is rubbery! Both times I braised the octopus, potatoes and olive oil together in the oven for at least an hour and although the potatoes were perfect, the octopus was chewy. I really want melt in your mouth texture like I had at the restaurants.

    I am considering:

    1. boiling octopus again (I bought it cooked) then braising
    2. Braising longer, like 2+ hours? In oven or maybe on the stove with more liquid and adding potatoes the last 45 min.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. someday

    someday

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    Braise it for longer. One hour is most likely not nearly enough time for an octopus. One hour would even be pushing it if it were baby octopus. 

    You are buying it already pre-cooked? That might be part of your problem too...try getting octopus that isn't cooked already. There might be an asian market that would sell it either frozen or thawed. That would be your best bet. 

    Some people swear by adding wine corks to the braising liquid as you cook the octopus. Supposedly it helps to tenderize the octopus, so you might try that as well. 

    Also, you use the term "boiling." Boiling is not really braising, so if you are going to cook it completely submerged in water, I would stay away from a boil. A traditional poaching temperature, something around 180 degrees, would be good. Boiling might be too rough on the octopus and actually cause the protein to seize up and get tough and dry. 

    Good luck. 
     
  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    You shouldn't have a difficult time finding frozen octopus, even frozen is better than already cooked.  Place it in a heavy dutch oven with aromatics and no liquid, as long as you keep it covered it will braise in its own liquid.  Braise it for longer, one hour is not enough to make it succulently tender. 
     
  4. benway

    benway

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    The wine cork thing is a funny old story, but I really don't think there is any truth to it.  Your cooking time needs to be much much longer.  The best thing you can do for your octopus is to get yourself a pressure cooker.  It speeds up those long cooking times and drastically works on that rubbery texture by allowing you to get the inside temperature higher than the boiling point.  A couple of hours in a pressure cooker for octopus is equivalent to about 8 hours of conventional braising.  Of course you'll have to cook your potatoes separate.
     
  5. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    @ Mignonette,

    Baby octopus is the best option considering it shall be much more tender and easier to work with.

    The traditional recipe from Galicia wherein the dish is called Pulpo á Feira, which denotes Octopus Festival Style.

    A 3 pound or 1.5 kilo baby octopus 

    8 garlic cloves minced

    2 1/2 tsps sweet smoked paprika

    salt and black pepper

    1/2 cup or 4 fl. ounces of extra virgin olive oil

    chopped herbs: parsley, dill

    1 medium onion

    boiling potatoes

    *** to serve on wooden plates is traditional here in Galicia

    1) in a stockpot, fill with water and salt and boil

    2) take the octopus, and put a hook in its head, and dunk the animal five times in the boiling water - to tenderize

    3) then, you shall be able to clean it; remove the eyes, and mouth sections

    4) rinse thoroughly

    5) place the octopus in boiling water with 8 fluid ounces of water to cover octopus and cover with lid

    6) simmer for 35 mins for a baby and up until 1 hr and a half for larger than 3 pounds

    7) check with a sharp knife and if tender, it is ready

    8) remove from stockpot and set aside, and let cool

    9) when it is cool, rinse again and rub off fragments of skin

    10) mix the garlic, seasonings and olive oil and pour over the octopus

    11) slice in 1/ 2 slices and place on wooden board or wood plate

    12) season with the olive oil with herbs and sprinkle Smoked Paprika

    13) serve with boiled potatoes with olive oil drizzle and smoked paprika

    It is a lovely tapa, and would be great if you could serve with a Galician white wine; albariño or Portuguese albarinho grape variety white.

    Margaux Cintrano.  
     
  6. janello

    janello

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    i know the type of dish you like to make

    and for the melt in your mouth galicia octopus

    all you need to do is freeze the octopus 24/hours (if its fresh)

    let it defreeze at room temperature

    bring water with salt to a boil dip it 3 or 4 times for about a minute or so and then let it in the boiling water for 30 min

    after that stop the fire and let it rest in the hot water for about 30 min

    cut it sprinkle paprika olive oil and you got the melt in the mouth result

    hope it helped
     
  7. chefross

    chefross

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    I have made and served octopus like forever....and all I need do is cook it until it's tender. I guess I don't understand the issue.

    When I worked for the Greek owners, they liked it marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette then grilled on a open flame with nice char marks. No need to peel the suckers or anything.

    They used to tell me that's how they did it in the "old country."
     
  8. duckfat

    duckfat

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    +1  At least finish on the grill.

    Dave
     
  9. chefzoneau

    chefzoneau

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    In spain at the marina I've often seen fishermen place the octopus into strong bags and smack them on a hard surface 5-10 times.

    Im very inquisitive so I asked what they were doing ?

    They answered that you beat the fresh octopus until a foam is produced

    and the roll them vigorously almost like washing clothes by hand on a washing board. This breaks down the tissues in the flesh

    and is a traditional way of tenderising octopus before Braising or Char Grilling.  

    Hope this Helps :)
     
  10. duckfat

    duckfat

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    Detroit wing nuts just take care of that by throwing them on the Ice. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    Dave
     
  11. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    We used to go snorkeling for octopus when I was a kid.  When we caught one we'd throw it against the rocks for about 10 min to tenderize.  It was fun back then but looking back now it seems brutal.
     
  12. foodracer

    foodracer

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    Pre-Cooked octopus is very common to see, and in many markets (areas) virtually the only thing you can find. So when I must used this pre cooked product, I utilize my pressure cooker , and have had good results with some experimentation . The pre cooked octo will , in my experience , not exude as must of it's natural juices as does fresh. That being said , here is my approach.

    Olive oil
    garlic
    red pepper flakes
    sautée in pressure cooker on high until aromatic
    Add octopus ( let sautée until liquid is released )
    Any liquid of your choice 1/2 cup if needed . I use clam broth.
    Add wine cork ( not a synthetic one :cool: )
    Put on lid to pressure cooker
    Set for 20-30 minutes ( depending on you unit.. again experiment )
    When complete
    Check for tenderness ....add additional time if needed.

    If you go to far in your time it will become mushy and suction cups and outer layer will disintegrate and become indelible ( my opinion :D) experiment . Thats what we do in kitchen developing recipes and techniques is to try and try again until perfection is achieved . Sometimes at the expense of unpalatable food :(

    Hope this helps.. Just my $.02

    DJ
    Even the broken clock is right twice a day.
     
  13. genemachine

    genemachine

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    Have you seen "Jiro Dreams of Sushi"? The old Sushi master massages the octopus for about an hour for extra tenderness....
     
  14. sunny cooks

    sunny cooks

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    So there are several ways to tenderize the octopus as follows:

    1. Freeze it for 48 hours. Thaw it slowly in the fridge.

    2. Beat fresh octopus with a mallet. There's a lot of satisfaction to be had here. 

    3. Beat fresh octopus against a rock. This may put off the neighbors.

    4. Dip the hood and tentacles separately in boiling water for 10 seconds, repeat 4 times. There is a YouTube video on this. 
     
  15. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    The freezing seems to be one of the better methods but I also prefer just the long slow braise with no liquid. @Sunny Cooks  can you post the youtube video? Use the little Film strip icon to do so. THanks.
     
  16. sunny cooks

    sunny cooks

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    This video demonstrates the boiling water method for tenderizing octopus.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014