I love octopus dishes and it’s one of those specialities that reminds me of delicious meals I have enjoyed on Mediterranean holidays.
I have never eaten tough octopus despite its reputation of resembling shoe leather!
It is said to be very tough if not prepared correctly and if you research the recipes the methods for tenderising they vary from beating it on the rocks as you retrieve it from the sea, boiling it with corks in the water, soaking and boiling it in milk, kiwi fruit, pawpaw or pineapple….. the list is endless!
Fear not, all you need is a pressure cooker!
Octopus is freely available in the beautiful fresh fish markets in Europe, but one seldom sees in in the South African shops.
Buy it locally
I prefer to buy mine frozen from Wild Peacock in Stellenbosch, guaranteeing that it was freshly and correctly frozen and quality. It is also beautifully cleaned and trimmed of the bits that are inedible!
Cooking tips & recipes
You will notice that I recommend that it is cooked in diluted wine or in fish stock. Many recipes simply use water, but my philosophy is to add flavour wherever possible. The remaining cooking liquids can be used as a broth for a fish soup, so don’t discard it. Freeze it if you are not using it immediately.
The cooked octopus can then be grilled, used in a stew or casserole or in a salad.
The last time I prepared just under 2kg of raw weight I had sufficient meat for 4 servings of Feijoada (Portuguese stew with Chorizo and Beans) : Recipe here
And 6 generous servings of Octopus Salad: Recipe Here
For one of the salads I added Heerenbone (See recipe)
Note to self: Don’t watch the epic South African documentary, My Octopus Teacher, in the same week that you plan to cook octopus!