Ogle at my Octopi!
Hope you are all doing well!
Today’s blog entry is a little off the chain, as in there are not vegetables mentioned anywhere in my post (gasp!). But don’t worry, I have not forgotten them.
I am quite adventurous when it comes to cooking and always interested in trying something new.
This time I chose octopus. Yes, you heard me right.
The octopus is a mollusc with eyes, a beak, four pairs of legs and three hearts. Even with three hearts, it suffers from high blood pressure, because it’s blood is a poor carrier of oxygen.
But the octopus is no softie! It has many defensive mechanisms to keep itself safe and to keep away predators. For one, it uses it’s many suckers, or suction cups to tear apart food and anchor itself to rocks and other surfaces. It had a beak in between it’s legs (see below), which is strong enough to tear apart crab shells, one of it’s favourite meals! Also, octopi can change the colour of their skin cells and their texture and they can squeeze through an opening the size of their eye to camouflage and escape from predators.
They have a short life expectancy and the females usually die after their eggs hatch and males die a few months after mating. According to this article in the Washington Post, one octopus in particular spent 4.5 years sitting on her eggs before they hatched. What dedication!
Octopus can be delicious too! I bought two octopi from Whole Foods Market, where they pride themselves in sustainable seafood. Octopus is a very perishable fish and is always sold frozen because of this. It keeps in the fridge for 1-2 days, so make sure to use it right after you buy it!
I was inspired to buy octopus after trying the most amazing grilled octopus in Santorini, Greece in the restaurant 1500 bc. They know how to cook octopus that’s for sure!
Octopus is also really good for you. One serving only contains 70 calories, 13g protein and 1/4 of your recommended daily intake of iron!
There are two ways to cook an octopus. Veerrryy slowly on low heat or on high heat on the grill. I did a little bit of both in this recipe.
I started with a whole octopus. Thank goodness the guts and ink sac had been previously removed, cleaning the octopus was a cinch!
After soaking the octopus in cold water, I cut the tentacles from the body of the octopus by cutting directly under the eyes.
The next step was to peel the skin off the body of the octopus.
Next, I took the tentacles and removed the sharp beak from the centrepoint of the tentacles.
I blanched the octopi in boiling water for 90 seconds.
The next step invovled a dutch oven (Le Creuset 🙂 ), or a casserole dish with a lid. I filled the dutch oven with oregano, bay leaves, onion, and a cup of red wine, added the octopi, put the lid on and let to braise in the oven at 300 degrees and let braise for 1.5 hours.
Look at how much smaller the octopus is and how much braising liquid we have!
Next, I cut up the octopus tentacle by tentacle.. and marinated it overnight in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and jalapeno peppers!
And finally, grill on high heat for 2-3 minutes each side.
I served my octopus with toast, hot sauce and pan fried string beans! Delish!
So next time you see a unique ingredient or recipe, go for it! You might find a new favourite if you’re willing to experiment.
Categories: Weekly Eats