Octopus is a rare seafood ingredient to most American home diners. Often it is avoided due to its tough and rubbery texture. However, it is possible to cook octopus to a fairly tender texture. My original plan was to braise the octopus, but after researching other cooking methods I found the Curious Chef, Harold McGee's NY Time's article on his experiments with cooking Octopus. He tried one method that had promise. He briefly boiled the octopus then cooked it in the oven at a low temperature for 5 hours. I decided to try his method and it worked well. It resulted in one of the most tender octopus meats I've had although the octopus meat still retained some toughness.
Using only a half pound of octopus meat, I decided to reduce the amount cooking time in the oven to 3.5 hours (over cooking could crisp the tips of the tentacles). I then sauté the octopus with its juices in a combination of garlic, tomato, mushroom and Hungarian hot paprika. Cilantro to garnish and lemon wedges to serve.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Active Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Special Ingredient: Octopus - can be found in Asian Specialty Food Stores or Japanese Specialty Food Stores that specialize in sushi.
1/2 lb. Octopus
2 Tablespoons Butter (divided)
1/2 Cup Crimini Mushrooms sliced
3 Garlic Cloves minced
2 Teaspoons Hungarian Hot Paprika
1 Roma Tomato chopped
2 Tablespoons Cilantro chopped
Lemon wedges to serve
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium saucepan bring 4 cups water to a boil. Place the octopus in the water to boil for 30 seconds. Transfer the octopus to a dry skillet and place in the oven to cook for 3.5 hours. Remove the octopus from the oven and transfer to a bowl of room temperature water and set aside to cool.
Place the same skillet with the dried octopus juices over medium high heat and melt 1 tablespoon butter on the pan. Add the mushrooms to the pan to cook for 5-8 minutes or until the mushrooms are nice and soft. Add the remaining butter and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the tomatoes and paprika and let cook for 2 minutes. While the tomatoes cook, remove the octopus from the bowl of water and cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices. Add the octopus to the skillet along with 1 teaspoon of water and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Transfer the contents of the skillet to a plate, garnish with cilantro and serve with lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy.