Intimidating Food, Part II: Mentally Preparing for Octopus

Ahh! Scary octopus!

Read part one of this series here.

With their eight tentacles and ability to go through one-inch holes, octopus are some freaky creatures. Octopus are classified under the Cephalopods family, which includes cuttlefish and squid, other sea animals that are not exactly pretty. They can live in most water environments and protect themselves from predators using camouflage. They range a lot in size and life expectancy, making it a little difficult to categorize them.

Their suction cups, camouflaging abilities, and keen mind make these eight legged creatures intimidating to me. I've never eaten octopus, but with the help of readers I hope to overcome any difficulties that might come along the way! (I think...)

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Octopus is a an ingredient that is used in many cuisines. Whereas people who have eaten it think of ceviche, tostadas, grilled octopus, tako wasa, or sushi, I on the other hand, see images of seafaring men fighting off a kraken, followed closely by the images of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu, high priest of the Old Ones. Spending most of my childhood hunched over a book probably helped me form these images of our eight-legged friend.

Release the kraken! (Image by Flickr user NiceBastard, used under a Creative Commons License).

Although real octopuses could never take me down a watery grave, it is still intimidating to cook and eat it for the first time. I needed to hear from people who have cooked with it so I could learn from them and become more confident. When I asked for help on Twitter, @KCETFood follower @RaulRoa shared his knowledge.

His link led to a page that gave instructions on how to make octopus tender.

Cathy Bower, who is Broadcast Operations Coordinator here, quickly shared her recipe for octopus marinade after reading the post.

Octopus Marinade

  • Wine Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Garlic and Green Pepper (chopped small)
  • Oregano and Parsley
Instructions: First boil the octopus til its done. Cut the octopus into 1 inch cubes and put the pieces in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, and chopped garlic and green pepper to taste. then add wine vinegar until the octopus is covered. Finally, add oregano and parsley to taste. Once all the ingredients are combined, let the mix sit in the fridge for 1 day before serving.

After getting these tips and recipes, I began to feel confident. Intimidating images of krakens started to be replaced by grilled octopus skewers.

Now, I just need to find a place to buy octopus, and decide on whether I should buy it frozen or fresh. Are there any benefits to buying it frozen? What do you recommend? Leave a comment telling me what you think is best! As an octopus newbie, I need all the help I can get.

(Image by Flickr user avlxyz, used under a Creative Commons License).

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