I decided this week I needed to get my cooking and experimenting groove back. So on my days off I decided to pick up an octopus. My goal, techniques and experiments with sous vide octopus. Now getting an octopus isn’t as easy as running down to the local grocery store and picking one up at the seafood counter. So I got to take a trip to one of my favorite stores, Uwajimaya. Oh how I can get lost in that store. I really need to go in there some time with someone that can tell me what everything is. However I really love shopping there. They have such an amazing seafood department as well as the deli.
So I grabbed my octopus right off and then decided that I wanted to walk through the produce section. I found two things that I have always wanted to try, finger limes and Buddha’s hand. Finger limes have been something that have always intrigued me. When you cut them open they expose a bunch of little spheres of flavor delight. Buddha’s hand is another citrus which is known for its amazing scent and the zest is often used in desserts and drinks.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with it at all. It has the most amazing sent, kind of a cross between a lemon and an orange. I wasn’t sure if there was any kind of a fruit or anything inside of it, so of coarse when I was done zesting it I cut it open.
The finger limes are a whole other kind of a wild experience. I watched a video on them to make sure I knew what I was doing. I cut it in half and then all you do is squeeze it. Out pops all of these little citrus caviar balls. I tasted one of them and you can tell they are from the lime family. They have the same tart flavor but really great flavor. As I tried one I couldn’t help but think of all of the other amazing things that you could do with these delicious little fruit caviar.
So now that I am done rambling about fruit it was time to tackle the octopus. This was a totally new experience for me because I had never worked with octopus before. I will admit that it is kind of an intimidating thing to work with. When I went in to buy it I couldn’t find a fresh one so I grabbed a frozen one. Once I got it thawed out it looked like an alien sitting on my cutting board.
I am taking a recipe that I saw on a tv show and kind of putting my own twist on it. So the plan was to cut off the tentacles and seal them in a bag with garlic, onion, olive oil, some buddha hand zest and a chili pepper. Oh and seasoned with salt and pepper obviously.
So once I got the octopus all cut up I sealed it in my Polyscience Chamber Sealer. I have to say I think that was my best purchase ever. It seemed to me that there are two different methods for cooking octopus sous vide. One is to cook it around 180 F for a couple of hours and the other is to go slightly cooler at 170 F for 7 to 8 hours. Now the recipe I am basing mine off of was at 171 F for 10 hours.
Once they cooked for 10 hours in the immersion circulator they were ready to be grilled. Now since I don’t have a grill in my apartment I took advantage of the one use at work. The beautiful thing about octopus is that the little suction cups crisp up really nice. Once they were grilled I shared them with my coworkers.
I was slightly shocked by the fact that the flavors from the marinade didn’t really seem to transfer into the octopus at all. Now having said that the flavor that I got from grilling it was great and cooking it sous vide for the 10 hours made it so tender. I have never experienced octopus this tender before. With the amount that the octopus shrunk, it makes me wonder if the contraction of the muscle just forced it all out. I am excited to try it again. I think I would do one with just simple salt and pepper seasoning and the other with some type of an Asian twist. Now I just need to get some funding to be able to put in another order for some Little Soya soy sauce.
After this experiment with sous vide octopus I can honestly say I am looking forward to my next adventure with octopus. As well as what other kind of fun and exciting things I can find to cook.