Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bout Time I Cooked that Damn Octopus!!

I've had this tentacled THING in my freezer for like a month now.  You know, the things that live in the ocean and have suckers on their tentacles?  Yeah, one of those.  I kinda bought it on a whim.  Had no idea how to cook it or if I would be able to eat it after I attempted to cook it.  I looked all over the internet for a recipe that sounded like something I would make and enjoy (and that I could share with my friends, cause who wants to eat an octopus experiment alone?  Not this girl!).  I found some decent ones, even some that I may try next time, but not one that made me go: THAT ONE!
He was kinda cute lol

Soooo you know me, I just decided to wing it.  Once I got the balls to, of course.  And someone who was brave enough to try my experiment (Cue Miss Logan lol).
Off with his head!  Yeah, don't eat that part.

I made Octopus Parmigiana.  Sounds fancy, right?  Considering how long it took to prepare the damned thing, yeah it pretty much was.  Prepare the octopus, not the whole meal.  Dear god, it takes hours to get an octopus fit for consumption....  

The prep actually depends on how large the octopus is and what you want to end up cooking it in, so I'm going to link you to the page I used as my starting point.  Since I was doin it up Italiana-style, my "nest" of herbs consisted of the following:
  • dried basil (crushed)
  • chopped rosemary
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped thyme
  • chopped garlic
  • ground black pepper
  • sea salt
    • (I also added some random stuff I add to everything: paprika and greek seasoning, but that kinda veers away from the theme I have going here) 
Here's what the bugger looked like after braising.

When it says that the octopus will absorb the flavor, it does.  To a point.  I think my pot I baked it in was too large so the herbs were quite spread out.  This entire process (blanching and braising) alone took about 3.5 hours... If you get a large octopus, it will take longer.

On to the easier part.

For my sauce:
  • 1-2 cans of crushed tomatoes (consistence of these are awesome for marinara)
  • same herbs as above
  • diced onion
Pretty damn simple, huh?  Just saute the onion and garlic in some extra virgin olive oil until transparent.  Then add the rest and heat.

You have to marinade the octopus, as well.  I coated it with the above herb mixture, some olive oil, and some Italian bread crumbs.  Throw it in a skillet until the breading mixture starts to brown, then put in an oven at 500 degrees with mozzarella and parmesan cheese (or whatever types you prefer), and bake for about 5 minutes.

I put mine over egg noodles, but the type really isn't important.  What is important is that it was AMAZING!!!  We ate the shit out of it.  We barely had enough to leave the boys any.  Well, one off the boys any way since he asked, the other missed out (lmfao!).
The cheese makes it look a bit gross, but it looks great in person.  Promise.

I do have to say cleaning the octopus after braising it was disgusting.  Like most animals, there is a layer of fatty tissue between the skin (or outer membrane) and it must be removed.  I am not a squeamish girl, but when I first started cleaning it I was a bit unnerved.  When I got over the initial shock it was quite fun.  Yes, I like playing with gross, mushy, gooey things at times.
Partially naked octopus!

It was sooo much fun cooking this!!  I recommend buying more than one octopus if you are trying to feed more than two people.  This was a little smaller than we though at 1.5 pounds.  Next time I'm going to try the Mexican soup or Greek salad I saw when looking for recipes.  They sounded yummy but the ingredients seemed a bit more expensive than I can afford at the moment.

I hope you guys enjoyed this.  I'm off to finish the first season of Game of Thrones and then bed.


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