Haven't had octopus? It's not as weird
as you might think. Not much weirder than a lot of seafood.
For example, have you seen a live shrimp? It's a bug
of the sea! Lobsters look like giant scorpions. And
if you've ever eaten escargot, then octopus shouldn't
seem freaky at all.
I've cooked baby octopi, because I've
heard the adult ones are tough and need a lot of pulverizing
with a hammer to make them nonrubbery. Now, chances
are you won't find cleaned octopi; they aren't sold
all nice and neat and ready-to-cook like chicken are.
Cleaning them, however, is no big deal. Simply turn
the head inside out, cutting the thin wall of connective
tissue holding it together as you do so. It'll be fairly
obvious which parts are the organs; work those away
from the wall of the head with your knife, then cut
'em off. Turn the head back rightside-in, then turn
the octopus upside-down and spread the tentacles. The
beak will be in the center. Fold the tentacles back
over the head and hold it so you can gently squeeze
the whole thing to evert the beak, which you can easily
pry out with the point of a knife. A quick rinse, and
To saute octopi, simply drain them and
cut them up into bite-sized pieces, keeping in mind
that they will shrink during cooking. Heat a tablespoon
or two of butter, depending on how much octopus you
have, on medium heat. When the butter is melted, add
the octopus and stir-fry them. Watch with fascination
as the tentacles squirmily curl up by themselves. After
about two minutes take the pan off the heat; overcooking
octopus will make it tough, and baby octopus cooks fast.
I've served these over konnyaku noodles,
which I sauteed with the seafood to allow the flavors
to mix. I plan to try other options and recipes and
post the results here.