I often wonder why octopuses served in sushi restaurants are tender to the bite without being chewy. So I asked a sushi chef how the texture of the octopus got so incredibly tender. The answer may surprise you. I learned that some of these octopuses are often imported from Japan. The reason is that the lengthy messaging required to tenderize the meat is too labor intensive to be done in-house. Anyone can procure the already treated octopus through their sushi chef contacts. But it was expensive. I tried that option. However, I won’t give up exploring a homemade version of octopus that is satisfactory to the palate.
If you have a immersion circulator or a sous vide device, you are in luck. Cooking the octopus, in a vacuum sealed bag (ziplock bag works too using the water displacement technique) in a constant temperature water bath at 171°F for five hours seems to do the trick. The resulting texture is just right.
I’ve found sous vide to be a reliable method to cook an expensive cut of meat or seafood. Furthermore, you get good results every time, consistently and precisely. You can cook one piece or multiple pieces with the same predictable outcome. When I need precision cooking, I often rely on sous vide. It’s true in the old days when I can barely cook. It’s still true today.
After 5-hours of cooking in the water bath, the octopus was ready for the grill. Five hours of cooking may sound cumbersome, but it is not. Sous vide requires no monitoring. No active cooking is involved. Set the timer; you carry on your day as usual. It’s a joy!
Grilling imparts the smoky flavor and aroma, adding a layer of flavor that goes beautifully with the salad of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and baby peppers.
Sous vide is my go-to and proven method to cook delicate seafood or a tough piece of meat: lobster, octopus or short rib. All you need is to set the temperature and time requirement according to your sous vide device for the desired doneness of the food.
This post will join other grilled dishes featured at i-Heart-Cooking-Clubs this week.
Grilled Octopus Salad in a Lemongrass Ginger DressingPrint Recipe
- To Prepare the Octopus:
- 1 whole octopus, cleaned
- 1 bay leaf
- Handful pepper corns
- Teaspoon of red wine vinegar
- For the Salad:
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup shredded green and red baby capsicum (substitute capsicum if baby capsicum unavailable)
- 1 cup cucumber, seeded, peeled and diced
- 1 cup spring onions coarsely sliced
- For the Dressing:
- Olive oil
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- 3cm knob finely grated ginger
- Juice of one lime
Start by bringing enough water to generously cover the octopus to the boil. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and the vinegar. Put the octopus into the pot and simmer until tender (this should take about 40 mins).
Let the octopus cool in the simmering liquid and then clean the skin and tentacles. The skin should slip off quite easily under your hands.
Before you BBQ the octopus, prepare your salad dressing. In a mortar and pestle, pound your lemon grass stalks and gradually work in the grated ginger, make sure you include all the ginger juice, and the olive oil. Allow to steep. The dressing should be sweetly lemon scented from the lemongrass with a little heat from the ginger. Strain the pounded oil and whisk in enough lime juice to balance, then season with salt and pepper.
Put the salad ingredients in a large bowl and get ready to grill your octopus.
Grill the octopus on a BBQ until charred. Cut into chunks and toss with the dressing and the salad vegetables. The octopus will absorb the dressing and the liquid from
Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe at Lifestyle Food https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/18575/grilled-octopus-salad-with-lemongrass-ginger-dressing