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I can't figure out how to make octopus tender and no more chewy than Mozzerella cheese.

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I don't know the species I've caught. But they are ambush hunters, dashing out of their rocky homes, snatching the bait, then dashing right back. Most octopus that are hooked never get landed, because they only have to reach the rocks with the end of one tentacle, and then reel themselves into their caves with great strength. When they get on the floor of the boat, they hold indescribably toughly to whatever their tentacles touch. They have to go into a sack right away.

 

I have recently had the pleasure of finding a purple species of octopus in ethnic food restaurants. Even the suckers are tender/chewy. I like it for it's texture, not it's inherent flavor, which is nil.

 

The large Pacific octopus (5 to 8 pounds, don't know the species) have large suckers that seem un-cookable. The suckers are always like chewing on surgical tubing. But they also have a carapace and meaty parts near the center of the body and along the bigger portions of their tentacles..

 

I cooked a likely 1/4 pound piece in marinara sauce, at a low to medium simmer for three hours, until the sauce started getting a dark color like it was burning from over-cooking. So I changed the sauce and cooked it some more. That 1/4 pound piece was as tough coming out as it was going in.

 

Do those who know what you are doing use pressure cookers, or maybe prepare only certain octopus species?

 

Thx,

 

Curious Roger

post #2 of 25

 Great minds think alike! I just did octopus this weekend.   

 

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/89889/july-2016-cooking-challenge-on-the-grill/150#post_543092

 

Braised 1.5-2 hours works for me.   Very small amount of liquid added.  The octopus releases liquid of its own.  Never simmered in tomato sauce.  I hate tomatoes.

 

Your problem may be size too.  I'm cooking like 4-5 lb octopuses.  Bigger ones might be tougher i don't know

post #3 of 25

I cook octopus in a heavy, dry pot with a lid till fork tender 1-2hrs. depending on the size.  They will make copious amounts of liquid on their own.  

post #4 of 25
Does anyone else cook octopus with a wine cork... The old wife's way of making it tender?
post #5 of 25

A long time ago at this forum, around 2000 or so, there was a member whose name was Papa and he was Greek.  He'd state that the octopi he caught were beaten against a rock in order to tenderize them.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopuffs View Post
 

A long time ago at this forum, around 2000 or so, there was a member whose name was Papa and he was Greek.  He'd state that the octopi he caught were beaten against a rock in order to tenderize them.

I remember seeing that post. 

And who knows maybe it does work koko lolol. 

 

I also cook my octopi 1-2 hours braise, with nearly no liquid. 

I don´t know the species though. 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 

I have several questions, sorry.

 

Do you know the species? What is their color? Do fishermen sell them to you?

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 


I used to pound the ### out of abalone to make it tender enough. With enough pounding it stretched out like a dish rag, very thin with holes in it. It's the only way to make them tender enough AFIK. I don't know how they prep abalone that is to be served raw.

 

I wish it had occurred to me to treat the octopus the same way, by pounding it. But at restaurants, the purple octopus has no sign of mechanical tenderizing. I've tried asking the chefs, but no luck. I'd sure like to find out. Next time I have one I'll cook it dry, as several of you described. The braising for one hour does puzzle me, because I essentially did that, only for three hours. Maybe it gets tougher the longer you cook it.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopuffs View Post

A long time ago at this forum, around 2000 or so, there was a member whose name was Papa and he was Greek.  He'd state that the octopi he caught were beaten against a rock in order to tenderize them.
I wasn't around back then to know Papa but I can vouch for the method. When I used to snorkel and catch octopi we brought them to shore and threw them against a rock for an hour or so to tenderize.

Maybe it does get tougher if you cook it longer, that's what happens to calamari.

I braise it in a pot with onion, garlic, and chili. I let it braise in its own juice and add no liquid.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #10 of 25

@Navregor ... I am curious about something.

You are buying (and complaining) about the frozen fish filets you are sourcing (different thread) but are close enuf to saltwater to land an octopus.

Have you tried to catch any fish on your own?

Surely they are easier to land.

If that does not pan out hang around the docks and make friends with some of the commercial fishermen.

Unless they have a quota to meet I am sure that they would sell or even barter some of the catch.

 

mimi

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by flipflopgirl View Post
 

@Navregor ... I am curious about something.

You are buying (and complaining) about the frozen fish filets you are sourcing (different thread) but are close enuf to saltwater to land an octopus.

Have you tried to catch any fish on your own?

Surely they are easier to land.

If that does not pan out hang around the docks and make friends with some of the commercial fishermen.

Unless they have a quota to meet I am sure that they would sell or even barter some of the catch.

 

mimi

Interesting commentary. For whatever its worth... I live within 10 miles of a major ocean, with fishermen and docks and seafood stores, yet the octopus is almost all pre-cleaned and frozen. I shop octopus in both Asian fish stores and Mexican fish stores. Maybe I should take your advise and start reaching into the rocks on the beach instead. :)

post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 

Nay, nay! Black be your fall!

 

If you had read my introductory posts on this topic, you would see that I have moved far from the sea. I am now in the sticks on the Western slope of the Sierras, and my seafood comes from Grocery Outlet. Soon I will begin catching local trout from the local streams. But I think wild ocean fish is the best, nutritionally.

 

I am !NOT! complaining. If you think I'm complaining, then you may have guilty thoughts about yourself, and see yourself in others.

 

On the contrary, I think this thing about the fillets is a very interesting topic, and I may figure out a way to overcome some of the difficulties connected to it.

 

Who knows, I might even be able to find something that edifies the entire community.

 

Roger

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 


About reaching under rocks. I know you were joking. I certainly don't have the nerve to feel under rocks.

 

This might be interesting to some of you.  Along the coast of California there lives a species of blue-colored octopus whose bite is  intensely venomous. Yet for years I was friends with a group of rock pickers, who found their abalone during the bottom of every large spring minus tide. They hugged large rocks, drove themselves headfirst into slurping thick kelp, and felt with their fingertips all around. I only heard in person one story about a guy had about his hand being slapped by a rushing fish. No stories of even rock crab bites.
So I guess the venomous octopi (octopuses?) slid way back into cracks when human hands appeared. I think they are small.

 

Roger

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Navregor View Post
 

Nay, nay! Black be your fall!

 

If you had read my introductory posts on this topic, you would see that I have moved far from the sea. I am now in the sticks on the Western slope of the Sierras, and my seafood comes from Grocery Outlet. Soon I will begin catching local trout from the local streams. But I think wild ocean fish is the best, nutritionally.

 

I am !NOT! complaining. If you think I'm complaining, then you may have guilty thoughts about yourself, and see yourself in others.

 

On the contrary, I think this thing about the fillets is a very interesting topic, and I may figure out a way to overcome some of the difficulties connected to it.

 

Who knows, I might even be able to find something that edifies the entire community.

 

Roger

 

Don't get the guilty comment but just FYI I do a bit of fishing and do ok.

Mostly the bays and ditches and guts (yes guts...) of the Gulf of Mexico but will hitch a ride with a friend and do a bit of deep water trolling if I can.

We eat what we can and vac freeze the rest and have had no problems like the ones you describe in your afore mentioned threads (but no additives either so don't expect the wet sponge texture).

Altho the frozen is not nearly as good as fresh it is better than nothing as I am sure you will agree.

:)

 

mimi


Edited by flipflopgirl - 8/2/16 at 8:33am
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm sorry about my reply to you. I took presumptuous liberties and came very close to flaming you. That's not me. I have an excuse for doing that in the evenings, but it is not a valid excuse. However I do have a couple of comments about your reply to me.

 

First, it's nice to meet another person who likes to fish and who also knows how to catch, if you know what I mean.

 

The fillets I've been talking to death about, do not have a spongy texture. They feel nice and firm, and look very good. But they contain that additive I've mentioned. It makes it impossible to pat the water out with paper towels. Letting the fillets dry before cooking is a possible solution. But as I said, I am about to do several experiments to figure out how to make the additive lose it's chemically bound H2O without maiming the fillet.

 

I agree that eating fish that are on ice and are only a few hours old have the best flavor. But I used to freeze my prepared fresh-caught fish for up to two months. Those frozen thawed fish tasted almost as good as the fresh fish that were only a few hours old, on ice. Never had a problem with water bubbling within them.

 

I'm sure many of you agree that once you get used to truly fresh or short-term frozen fresh fish, walking by the butcher's counter with all of it's fish laid out,, is a stinky experience. That odor was to me a sign to throw away the fish that took on that odor. I can never buy "fresh" fish from them again.

 

It is nice to hear from you.

 

Roger

post #16 of 25

No worries we all get grumpy at times.

My husband is the real fisherman of the family with his 87 year old mom coming in second.

Amazingly she can stay out all day wading up and down the shorelines and doesn't even get pissed if her stringer is empty.

Way more patient than I will ever be lol.

 

mimi

post #17 of 25

Want to add...

I have never caught an octopus and just this past summer saw my first squid in the wild.

We were floundering and had our limit but were still wandering in the moonlite amazed at the numbers of stingrays we were seeing (they birth their babies live and the small ones may be cute but can still make you sorry if you happen to step on it lol) and the fisherman pointed at what I thought was a jellyfish but turned out to be a smallish squid.

Exciting for me and can cross of the bucket list.

 

mimi

post #18 of 25

 if you are looking for octopus for your restaurant "Octopus Garden" brand tenderized is the way to go, cook them in light boiling water for about 30-35 minutes ice bath them and they are good to go. if you are catching them you have to take the time to tenderize them by hand, usually thrashing them over rounded rocks to soften them. 

post #19 of 25
Thanks for the lead. Not easy to find since those words on google bring up all sorts of stuff. Here is a link for them:

http://www.octopusgardeninc.com/home.html
post #20 of 25
I went to a restaurant in Leeds, UK (The Man Behind the Curtain) where a menu item was marked 'hand massaged octopus'. I thought it was a joke but it appears to be an effective tenderising method. very tasty. In Edinburgh a restaurant offered hand massaged kale, with oil and lemon. It kind of shrinks it, doesn't cook it. Revolting.
post #21 of 25

In Jiro Dreams of Sushi he talks about making the apprentices massage octopus for at least 45 minutes

post #22 of 25
I hand massage cabbage when making sauerkraut. Results in a much better product than smashing it with a pestle. Sometimes a gentle hand is better than brute force!
post #23 of 25

Brian's link to the octopus supplier is  a very pretty display of these delicacies. Worth a look even if you're not in the market for any

 

     http://www.octopusgardeninc.com/home.html

 

 

When we moved to Bainbridge Island, across Puget Sound from Seattle, my new neighbors taught me to skin dive and I happily did this at every opportunity.  A year later Jacques Cousteau arrived with the Calypso on his way to Alaska.  He appeared on local television and explained that he was especially glad for the opportunity to dive in Puget Sound, since it was the home of the largest octopusses in the world!  

My neighbors had never mentioned this to me.   :eek:

 

Actually they're ultra shy and I never went looking for them, and never even saw one.  They can be fished - illegally - using copper sulfate in a cloth bag on a stick and thrusting this into crevices and under rocks where they are likely to hang out.  They flee the chemical and you grab them when they come out.

 

Legal or not, they make a really nice chowder or sushi.

 

Speaking of barter with fishermen, two of the neighbor ladies would bake a large cake, and watch for a slowly-approaching salmon trawler chugging along close to the shore. They would then row out to intercept the trawler.  The fishermen, spotting the two pretty, young matrons approaching, invariably stopped. The ladies would hand up the cake, saying "You boys are working so hard, we thought you'd like a little something to eat." They were then handed a twenty-pound salmon, a few minutes out of the water.  The whole neighborhood would then gather for a salmon roast.

 

Those were the days...

 

Mike

 

And yes, I know about the plural

travelling gourmand
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post #24 of 25

Getting good at octopus is like getting to play at Carnegie Hall - practice . . . practice . . . practice.

post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike9 View Post

Getting good at octopus is like getting to play at Carnegie Hall - practice . . . practice . . . practice.
I've done both, check!!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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