Yet again, who better than the staff at the Pescheria da Claudio, for providing some precious advice on the subject. Here we have discovered, for instance, the differences between frozen and fresh octopus, and that the real secret of success lies in cutting it up when it is already cooked.
HOW TO CLEAN AN OCTOPUS
- How can we distinguish between a fresh and frozen octopus? First of all, fresh octopus has a much whiter skin. Frozen octopus is more widely used because it is more tender when cooked, since freezing tenderizes the flesh. Therefore, a frozen octopus is often preferable to a fresh one, which risks being tough and chewy.
- Apart from tenderness, what else differentiates a thawed out octopus from a fresh one? The flavour and aroma of a fresh octopus will obviously be more pronounced.
- If you have purchased a fresh octopus from a market stall, you will probably need to clean it well, tentacle by tentacle, to remove any residue.
- Remove the innards and the eyes, and then clean the inside of the head thoroughly.
- Your octopus is now ready to go into the pot. If the recipe you have in mind entails cutting the octopus into pieces, it is advisable to do so only once it is cooked.
- Drop the octopus into a saucepan of unsalted boiling water or, better still, steam it. Bring to a boil, simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until tender (you'll know it is ready when you can pierce it with a fork or knife).
- After cooking, let it cool for a couple of hours.
- A quick way of serving cooked octopus? Cut it into small pieces, combine with tomatoes and celery, and season well.
The team at Don Julio have taken over an unloved corner of Buenos Aires. Organic produce harvested at the community-focused urban garden Huerta Luna de Enfrente will exclusively benefit local soup kitchens. Read on for the full story.