It’s been a fantastic long weekend complete with a lot of great home cooking. Last night’s dinner was pretty spectacular; we ended up with some awesome octopus (fully sustainable) from Hooked.
A few things to note about octopus:
- It’s affordable – especially considering that all of the tentacle is edible. 1.3 pounds of protein was just over $13.
- Most octopus sold retail has already been cleaned and braised meaning that it’s essentially cooked. This process should ensure that you end up with a not-chewy dinner but you don’t want to overcook it as it will only become tougher.
- Although many people find it intimidating to view whole, when it’s cut into slices it’s not a lot more difficult to ‘process’ than scallops.
The typical treatment would be grilling it to add some char to it. We didn’t have a propane tank and I wanted something easy so I opted to add it to a tomato sauce (right at the end of cooking). I warmed it up by slowly poaching it in olive oil, butter and garlic. It smelled a lot like lobster and my hesitant guests were able to jump right in and found it delicious.
- 1 pound of fresh pasta (you could buy it or make it yourself; I used a touch of truffle oil, 3 eggs, 4.5 ounces of white flour and 4.5 ounces of red fife whole grain flour; the technique is described here)
- For the sauce:
- An onion
- Chili flakes (optional)
- 0.25 teaspoons of dry cumin
- 0.25 teaspoons of dry oregano
- Olive oil or anchovies preserved in oil (this is my preference)
- Salt and pepper to flavor.
- Tomato sauce (I use 2 quarts)
- For the octopus:
- 1.3 pound of octopus (this is enough for 4 or more), sliced into discs
- 0.25 cups of olive oil
- 0.5 cups of butter
- Lots of garlic
- Melt the ingredients for the octopus over extremely gentle heat. You want to heat it as gently as possible – once it reaches heat, back off the heat altogether.
- Warm a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the anchovies and let them heat up – close to smoking.
- Add all the veggies and spices (all remaining ingredients short of the sauce and pasta) and cook until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes) but not browned.
- Add the sauce, bring to a near simmer. Allow the sauce to slowly reduce for about 30-60 minutes. If your octopus is warm, use care not to overcook (cover and take off heat if needed).
- Cook pasta in plenty of water.
- Add the octopus and some of the liquid to the sauce right before serving. This will add an incredible richness to your dinner.
Serve hot; cheese optional (though many will choose to avoid as we’re dealing with seafood which is plenty rich already).
This was an exceptional weekend meal and something we’ll definitely make again!
If you eat octopus, what do you make with it? If you don’t, would you try this?