Octopus dishes may seem intimidating at first. After all, the sea creature itself has eight arms covered in tentacles, along with a big head, small eyes, and even a beak. A person may feel confused in the kitchen when they encounter this marvelous ocean specimen and wonder what to do to the octopus to prepare it. It all starts by cleaning the flesh, and then you can consider which is the right octopus dish for the occasion. In most cases, the cutting of the head, eyes, and beak is the first step towards cooking the critter, but in some cases, you can skip it, and begin with tenderizing.
While the task of tossing tentacles into your everyday menu can be daunting – you can handle it. With so many ways to cook this delicacy, there are plenty of dishes to choose from if you are ready to widen your palate. Traditionally, you can find grilled octopus recipe variations are the most popular however, there are endless possibilities for making this famous cephalopod into scrumptious servings.
5 Foods to Make With Octopus, at Home
The taste of octopus takes on a variety of styles when paired with different foods, garnishes, and salads. Pairing complementary flavors, colors, and textures are one way to enjoy the most visually stunning meats of the sea. Grilled, braised, boiled, or steamed, every octopus meal makes an impressive addition to your table.
What to Serve With Octopus
If you want to widen your palate for the pleasing flavors of the sea, add these 5 foods to your octopus recipe menu.
- Potatoes. The versatile texture of potatoes makes them an ideal side dish to use in the best octopus dishes. Mashed, cubed, or sliced, potatoes allow you to explore a variety of cooking methods with octopus. You can use any color, or type including sliced sweet potato medallions, mashed golden yellow potatoes, red potatoes cut into cubes, or quarters, and a combination of these. Potatoes are not only a versatile option for a side dish to octopus, but they can also add a colorful pop to your plate in orange, red, and purple.
- Bread. Bruschetta is a classic appetizer that allows you to use bread in octopus recipes. Made with French baguette slices, butter, or olive oil, cubed Roma tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil, the flavors work well with octopus. You may also decide to try buttery garlic bread, cheesy pull-apart bread, crusty bread, and even croutons with your favorite octopus recipes.
- Mixed Vegetables. Raw, steamed, boiled, and oven-roasted vegetables add loads of flavor to your octopus dishes. Since vegetables are able to bring out the signature taste of octopus, some of the most popular ones to make with seafood include sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, onions, mushrooms, lemon, peppers, tomatoes, as well as herbs, and spices like black pepper, cumin, ginger, rosemary, and basil.
- Leafy Greens. Making a salad with leafy green vegetables is one of the most common ways to create a bed for your octopus dish. The combination of warm octopus meat and slightly wilted greens is not only tasty, but it is also highly nutritious. Using a salad as a side dish, base for the meat or, as a garnish allows you to integrate other fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices to make a more interesting flavor palate. Try using a variety of nutritious leafy greens including romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, arugula, cabbage, and more.
- Beans. Loaded with nutrients, flavor, and color, beans make any octopus dish pop. Try red, green, black, navy, garbanzo, and pinto beans alone, as a side dish, or in combination with other ingredients in a bean salad to make a simple side-dish.
3 Tips For Cooking Octopus At Home
- Tenderize. The natural texture of octopus is tough, but there are easy ways to tenderize the tentacles. You can use a simple mixture of water, and salt brine to tenderize the meat before cooking it. Adding a splash of vinegar may also help to soften the texture of the octopus meat before you cook it. Tenderizing octopus meat is essential in order to ensure the finished dish is as delectable as it can be. Other ways to tenderize octopus meat include marinating, steaming, simmering under low heat, and pressure cooking.
- Fully Cooked. One of the most common mistakes people make when cooking octopus is undercooking. If you are new to cooking octopus at home in your own kitchen, it can take a little time before you get used to the flavor of fully-cooked octopus. Until then, you may need to taste a few pieces during the cooking process and decide what the best texture is. Typically, people enjoy octopus meat to be fully tenderized, and also fully cooked in order to enjoy the flavor of octopus meat.
- Crispy Skin. When it comes to the skin of an octopus, there are many different tastes it can take on. One of the most popular ways to create a delicious octopus dish is to crisp the skin. Searing the skin of octopus can ultimately make your mouth water, while air frying may have the same effect. In addition to the ability of octopus to take on a range of flavors, the skin is mouth-watering when crisped. You can choose any method that works best for the octopus recipe you are using, which may include long slow cooking, searing, frying, braising, and other methods.
The skin of an octopus is one of the tastiest parts of the dish. While some people choose to remove the purple skin after cooking octopus, it is optional. Octopus skin can take on a variety of textures, flavors, and cooking styles so it is oftentimes used to enhance the complexities of any dish you add it to. Searing, frying, steaming, and boiling will all create a different texture of the octopus skin. There are some octopus recipes that call for removing the skin, but regardless of what the recipe says, you do not have to remove the skin of octopus for cooking at home.
If you are intimidated by cooking octopus at home do not let it stop you from taking on the challenge. You can cook this delightful dish at home easily, and develop your own variations of this seafood classic. Delightfully tasteful, the octopus is oh-so-good in traditional Italian dishes, grilled with a touch of lemon, or tenderly rubbed and cooked in a pot. You do not need any special type of cooking tools to create a restaurant-worthy octopus dish in your own kitchen. Really, it is much more simple than you think to make tentacles delicious at your table.
If you, however, wish to taste how the pros do it, look no further than Stubborn Seed. Our Kombu Charred Octopus will give you all the feels, as well as other dishes crafted only from the freshest ingredients. Book your table now.