How to cook octopus isn’t as simple as most people think. Sure you can just cut it into little cubes, stuff it with rice and salt, sprinkle with pepper and stick it in the oven or microwave, but it doesn’t taste as good as when it’s actually cooked. If you’re going to learn how to cook octopus, you need to know its secrets.
Most people don’t realize this, but octopuses have a coating of sticky, slimy, gelatinous (yes, really) jelly on their outside shell. What about the inside? Some recipes suggest removing the jelly-like skin after boiling. That is right, lemon juice and salt.
First, when you’re preparing the dish, make sure you’ve washed your hands thoroughly; don’t just take your chance rinsing it in your dishwater. Second, use a mesh or rubber strainer to drain the liquid that has collected in your pots and pans, then add just enough water so that the surface of the pot is covered with water. If you’re cooking an octopus that’s too large, you might have to drain a bit more, but not enough to submerge the entire thing. In general, a quart of water should be plenty enough to cover the dish when cooking octopus.
When you’re cooking octopus, do your best to keep it in its own liquid solution. You can do this by putting the dish in a large stockpot or a pressure cooker. Set the pressure cooker’s lid so that the pressure is able to build up and bring the water to a boil. Allow the pot to simmer for an hour. Once the hour is up, remove the lid, strain the liquid from the pot and put it in a separate bowl or container for later use.
Next, use a fresh slice of garlic on each of the tentacle ends and along the sides of the creature. Start cooking your squid by placing the sliced garlic along the sides of the tentacle tips and in the center, going all the way to the base. When your squid is done steaming, use a rubber or mesh strainer to collect the cooked tentacles. Then, cut the pieces of garlic and set aside.
With the cleaned, cut garlic tentacle sections in your hand, place some salt onto each individual piece and squeeze them until the salt dissolves. Then, take each tentacle and place it onto a piece of cheesecloth, wringing it gently to remove any excess paper towels. Put the tentacle on top of a warmed serving of sour cream and place in the microwave for a half a minute. You can now use your hand to slowly wave the tentacles in and out while the cream maintains its heat.
Finally, you can begin cooking your octopus dinner. First, in a separate pot or sauce pan, boil some salted water and add a pinch of rock salt to the water. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, add your prepared garlic. Once the garlic is fully cooked, drain it and discard it. Then, add your prepared sweet and sour mix into your pressure cooker along with your tentacle and garlic pieces and turn the cooker on full.
While the pressure cooker is heating up, place your cooked octopus directly onto your serving dish with a generous amount of lemon wedged between each tentacle. While the octopus is cooking, make sure you squeeze your lemon wedge between each tentacle to release any juice that may be left in the centers of the tentacles. Allow your tentacle saute to slowly cook down until the tentacle is nearly soft. When the tentacle is soft, you can remove it from the grill and place it in your bowl of soup.