There’s nothing like a tender seared octopus. Those who’ve had a rubbery bite may be turned off from this delicacy, but follow below to make perfect octopus at home.
We use a sous vide bath to tenderize uncooked octopus (fresh or frozen) before searing over extreme heat to get that final delicious crisp. Placing the octopus in a bag at this step preserves its natural juices, and additional liquids (olive oil, spirits, soy sauce, etc.) and seasoning (salt, herbs, etc.) can be added inside the bag to infuse even more flavor. This works with any size octopus, whole or separated tentacles. See pics below of baby and larger octopus preparations.
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Some recipes talk about blanching or boiling uncooked octopus in water before hand. While this does work, it also draws some of the natural flavors out of the octopus. If you’re blanching in wine or another liquid to infuse flavor into your octopus, that’s a different story.
- Set your sous vide to 180-185ºF in a tub or pot large enough for your octopus.
- Place your cleaned octopus (fresh or frozen) in a vacuum bag or resealable bag (see water displacement method below).
- Add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a shake of oregano and a grind or two of black pepper. Here is where you can play around with adding your own flavors (try soy sauce and sake). Experiment!
- Remove the air and seal your bag.
- Submerge in the sous vide bath for at least 2 hours.
- Get your searing station set up. You’ll want a screaming hot surface to place your octopus once it’s tenderized from the sous vide stage. For searing, you can use an outdoor grill (clean and oil the grates), a cast iron pan or griddle on your stove top, a fire pit, or a makeshift mini charcoal setup similarly used for grilling yakitori (see photos).
- After at least two hours, the octopus will be nice and tender and fully cooked. Remove from bag. It won’t look that attractive at this stage.
- Toss your sous vide octopus in a light coating of extra light olive oil to help prevent it from sticking during the sear.
- Sear until well browned and crispy, but watch not to dry it out…it’s already cooked and should take seconds to a few minutes per side depending on searing method. You can add a little bit of extra light olive oil if you plan to sear in a pan or on a griddle.
- At this point, plate if you so desire (over some warmed hummus with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil) or eat it all up by the fire!
We use an Anova Culinary A2.2-120V-US Sous Vide Precision Cooker Bluetooth, Immersion Circulator, 800 Watts, Black and Foodsaver vacuum sealer or Ziploc freezer bags for water displacement method.
On the outdoor grill, we use Grill Grates flat side to create a plancha searing setup.
Arteflame’s kettle insert works great over open fires, providing a cast iron surface that gets ridiculously hot.
If you have a proper ventilated hood, you can attempt the indoor charcoal briquette in a cast iron pan set up pictured. Please be sure you have ample ventilation and douse the charcoal before disposal.
No vacuum sealer? No problem. Learn how to use water displacement, also known as the water displacement method, using a resealable bag, and cook like a pro. via Anova
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