This is probably the easiest way to prepare octopus!
I was watching an episode of CSI a long time ago and there was a scene where a little child was an eye witness to a crime. When the child was asked by the police to tell them what he saw, he told them that the victim had an alien with him! Later on, it was determined that the so called “alien” was actually an octopus! Now, I don’t remember why the victim was carrying an octopus, nor can I think of a reason why anyone would bring an octopus with him while taking the subway (the crime took place in the subway), but I remember it was at that particular moment when I realized that octopuses have a lot of similarities with the aliens we often see at the movies!
Being raised on an island of the mediterranean where sea food is in abundance, I hadn’t realized that octopuses may seem strange and exotic to a lot of people! But yes, if you think about it, octopuses, squids and cuttlefish are extraordinary creatures with a physiology totally different from the animals which walk the earth, so it’s no wonder they may seem strange to some people. But if you can surpass their appearance you’ll find out they taste delicious! Like this easy cuttlefish stew!
Today’s recipe is very easy and simple, so simple even someone with zero expertise in the kitchen can pull through! Actually, it doesn’t even seem like a real recipe because all you have to do is wrap the octopus with some foil and just bake it for an hour and a half. The only difficulty you may encounter is during the preparation, where you have to remove the tooth from its center and clean its hood from its internal organs, though in most store bought octopuses this has already been done.
Octopus is low in fat and rich in protein, so this dish is considered to be very healthy!
Keep in mind that octopus has high water content, so it will water out and shrink during baking.
DON’T add any salt! It already has all the salt it needs.
Bake it low and slow for a tender and fragrant result!
If you’re up to it, keep its juice and use it in a seafood risotto or other seafood dishes.
Pair this octopus with another extra healthy dish, this yellow split pea puree with sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions!
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- 2.5 – 3 pounds (1,1 – 1,4 kg) octopus, fresh (or thawed if frozen)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch of pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 all spice kernels
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- Some extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar for serving
- Preheat oven to 320°F (160°C)
- Rinse octopus and discard any stuff from the inner part of its hood.
- Remove its tooth from the center (the easiest way to do that is to cut the octopus in half. Otherwise, you can pick it out with your finger, but this may be a bit tricky)
- Make a cross with two sheets of foil, about 1.5-2 feet each.
- Place a piece of baking paper on the center of the cross and place the octopus on top of it.
- Pour the olive oil and balsamic over the octopus, add the rest of the ingredients and wrap firmly with the foil.
- Place on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Unwrap and check to see if octopus is fork tender. If it seems a little tough, bake for 30 minutes more.
- Unwrap, take the octopus out of the foil and cut into pieces.
- Drizzle with olive oil and some balsamic and serve.
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