Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Confused Octopus

Tamaya, octopus are one of the favourite foods here, but in my opinion, Filipinos don't do the best by them.

The first one I ever tasted was in Cyprus, where an octopus attached itself to my bare white heel , as I was preparing to dive. My companion picked it off, bashed it on the rocks where we were sitting (to tenderise it), and told me how to cook it in slowly in red wine for a very long time (with the usual extras).

Octopus cooking is a very delicate art; it's one of my long-term projects to learn exactly how.

Blanch, raw, slow cook, rapid boil, or what?*

Somewhere along that gradient, there's a point where the meat will come out fresh, tender and tasty. That's the moment when the real cook will know he's got it just right.

I'll keep trying.

Meanwhile, consider these poor octopi, who are extremely good at doing camouflage, but have been wholly confused by being put out to expire on a chequered background.

Update 1: The answer to this is to get the first cooked point just exactly right, or stew the damned things for hours to get back to it.

3 comments:

Bill W, NH, USA said...

Hi Richard, You must know me from WMR, I'm Bill Wade of Exeter. I find the best way to cook squid is over very high heat for no more than 20 seconds. Here's a tasty way: make sure the squid is dry and cut into small pieces. Put a cast iron pan on high heat for 10 minutes. In the meantime, marinate the squid in olive oil, (vegetable would work too), a bit of sea salt, pepper, and generic Italian seasoning. Then toss the squid into the pan and remove in 17 to 20 seconds. Yum. You can also cook shrimp the same way, keep them moving in the skillet for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

I spent 6 years on and off at Clark Air Base near Angeles City. I much prefer Thailand though. Cheers!

Richard said...

I like this, so I'm going to give Bill's message a post of its own. See: How to cook...

Bill W, NH, USA said...

ah, should have mentioned this earlier: squid has about the same nutritional value as fish, it's quite good for you.