How to cook octopus.
How to cook octopus. Choosing your fish is important! Make sure it is bright and shinny, in the Spanish costal regions you would usually buy it still alive! But fresh fresh fresh! Old sea food is just not worth it.
A nice big one is best. The octopus is more filling than you think but you want a good size portion, so for four people 3-4 kg should be about right, as it will shrink in the cooking process.
Once you have chosen your octopus, it’s time to prepare it for cooking.
Prepare the octopus
To clean him, cut around the eyes and open up the head and turn it inside out make sure you remove all the content then cut out the beak and mouth parts and wash under clean running water. (you can ask your fish monger to do this for you when you buy it).
Mother in law
My mother in-law who is an expert in all Spanish cooking, most of these recipes come from her, she won’t write them down “in case the neighbours get hold of her tricks” so I’ve had to cook with her to learn what to do.
She say’s to get the best results freeze him (the octopus) for a day or two and then thaw be for you start to cook him.This helps the octopus tenderise.
Ready for the pot
Once he has thawed out he’s ready for the pot, get the biggest saucepan you have.
If you have a copper pot its best. If not, place a few copper coins in the water. This will give you a really authentic taste that only copper gives to the dish (sounds funny but believe me makes a difference).
Fill it with water and bring to the boil. You can add a few coarsely copped onions and some bay leaf into the water. Then take the octopus by the head and plunge the tentacles in the water, count to five slowly and take him out put on the side and wait for the water to come back to the boil. Put him back in repeat this twice more (three times in total). This curls the tentacles and helps to make him even more tender.
Put it back into the water and leave it for about an 1 hour-1 hour1/2 until tender.
Take the him out and leave on the side.
You can now add the potato to the water and cook them until tender.
While they are cooking cut off the head of your octopus (mother in-law keeps this bit for herself. She loves it but it’s not to everyone taste).
Take the tentacles and cut into slices. Pop them on a wooden plate with the potato (also sliced). For a real authentic presentation drizzle with good olive oil. Sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt and paprika.
If you are serving as a tapas pop some cocktail sticks into the tasty morsels. They can easily be picked up and eaten by your guests.
It sounds like a lot of work but really isn’t. You have plenty of time to prepare you other dishes while your beautiful pulpo is cooking.
Believe me it’s a truly delicious dish!!