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How to eat octopus

January 19th, 2004 · 1 Comment

Abigail, Michaela and I wrote about our latest culinary adventure.
The girls wrote what’s in bold and we have some pictures too…

1. Get some octopus at the store.


On Wednesday we were at Central Market getting our knives sharpened when we saw the octopus for sale. I didn’t have my camera with me so these pictures are ones I took the following day when I came back. I was hoping to see what we saw then – a huge octopus, head rising up out of the ice, arms extended in every direction, but instead, all that was left was the leftovers from the previous day, a pile of legs, tangled and inelegant, not as glorious as the whole giant.


The price seemed pretty good so we bought about a pound cut from the mantle, including the siphon and eyes. Just as we got over to the seafood department to buy it, a man in front of me bought most of the octopus head. I was told that the mantle would be better than the tentacles, more tender, especially for a first try.

Abigail had been asking for octopus for a while, since we had fish eyes this summer, but I didn’t know how to cook it. So I asked both the man who bought the mantle, and the seafood department employee for their recommendations – which is what we followed below….

2. Unwrap it.


The girls had fun exploring how an octopus feels. The ridge there is the eye.

3. Boil it in salty water.


When cooked, after 15 minutes of boiling in salted water, the color became more vibrant, a deep purple hue. The cooking water also changed color; I wondered if octopus extract had ever been used as a dye.

4. Cut it.


I chopped the octopus – except for the eyes and a piece of skin, into thin strips and dredged them in flour.

5. Put it in the wok.


The pieces were deep-fried in the wok until crispy and gold. The other recipe that was recommended to me was to prepare the octopus in marinara sauce. I also saw some vinegar or pickled recipes on line, but I wasn’t in the mood for sour seafood.

6. Eat it.


We ate it all up, the girls even getting into a little fight over the last of the fried octopus! Some pieces were more tender than others, but in general it tasted like something that could be served in a restaurant, on the Ivar’s menu or so, along with fish n’ chips, prawns n’ chips, octopus n’ chips…

One note on aroma: distinctly different from stinky fish smell. It’s slightly sweeter. And strong. Probably step 7 should be “Take out the garbage”!

I think we’ll be cooking this again…after all, now that it’s not so safe to eat beef , salmon or chicken (or civet)….especially for we Northwesterners, it’s time to start eating octopus!

Tags: food

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 enoch // Jan 19, 2004 at 5:27 pm

    didn’t know you could get civet on bainbridge is. 😉