December 28, 2017 lyukum

under the sea in an octopus’ garden

Octopus Cooked Sous Vide


We would be so happy you and me
No one there to tell us what to do
I’d like to be under the sea
In an octopus’ garden with you

Is Horror Good for Octopus?

Since learning about the importance of scaring an octopus, I don’t remember using other cooking methods than in the recipe for this great tasting tapa. Then I saw Tender, Silky Sous Vide Octopus by ChefSteps. Not that my octopuses were not tender or silky without using sous vide, but I got intrigued to find how they vacuum pack a large octopus with long tentacles. The answer was easy — blanch it, or “scare” it once. Blanched tentacles contract and the beast becomes compact.

Where Your Octopus Comes From?

In Central Texas (including ATX), you can buy an octopus either in Central Market or Asian supermarkets. Central Market labels its octopus as Mediterranian, while Asian species come from Thailand and Philippines. After cooking both types, I noticed Asian octopus is somewhat bland and thus benefit from salt and basic spices added to the cooking water. Mediterranian one doesn’t need any. In a search to confirm my experience, I came across Mark Bittman’s Octopus Demystified. He says: “After weeks of cooking octopus from all over the world, I detected little or no difference in quality between those from Europe and those from Asia.” Does it have anything to do with quality or not, but to my taste, a Mediterranian octopus is much more flavorful then Asian. Try both and see for yourself.

Where the octopus comes from is important, because the recipe below is for a Mediterranian octopus.

Sous Vide vs Simmering

Like many other people, I feel reluctant trying new cooking methods when the old ones work just fine. After years of playing with sous vide, I realized it doesn’t make my life in the kitchen much easier. I simply switch one kind of the cooking/prepping steps to another, and I can’t be spontaneous. For me, cooking with sous vide should be worse of all the planning and work I need to do. Let’s compare the steps.

The first step for both methods is blanching. Traditional multiple blanching (aka “scaring”) takes longer, but then you just let it simmer slowly. For sous vide, you only blanch the octopus once until its tentacles curl. But then you also need an ice bath, and vacuum packing, and water bath, and cooking for 5 hours.

About blanching. I do not do it for 10 minutes like ChefSteps recommends. The timing depends on the water to octopus weight ratio and on the initial temperature of the octopus. If you fill a 5.5-gallon pot with 3 gallons of water for 1.5-2-pound room temperature octopus and bring it to boiling, the time for blanching is 2-3 minutes max.

Vacuum Packed Raw Octopus

Vacuum Packed Raw Octopus


Vacuum Packed Raw Octopus

Vacuum Packed Raw Octopus

Vacuum Packed Raw Octopus

Vacuum Packed Raw Octopus


It takes time to cook an octopus sous vide. But it’s worth the wait! You end up with perfectly cooked in its juices octopus, naturally and fully flavored, its skin intact. If you refrigerate it after cooking still vacuum packed, its juices gelatinize. It tastes amazing! It is beautiful served!

Vacuum Packed Octopus Cooked Sous Vide

Vacuum Packed Octopus Cooked Sous Vide

Octopus Cooked Sous Vide

Octopus Cooked Sous Vide


5-hour Sous Vide Octopus
Octopus Cooked Sous Vide
Print Recipe
Prep Time 30minutes
Cook Time 5hours
Passive Time 5hours
Servings octopus
Octopus Cooked Sous Vide
Print Recipe
Prep Time 30minutes
Cook Time 5hours
Passive Time 5hours
Servings octopus
Ingredients
Units:
Ingredients
Units:
Instructions
  1. Fill a 5.5-gallon pot with 3 gallons of water and bring it to boiling. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Blanch the octopus for 2-3 minutes until its tentacles contract and curl. Transfer to the ice bath.
  2. Slice the cold octopus in half making two flat portions. Vacuum pack each portion with 1/2 tbsp of EVOO. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
    Vacuum Packed Raw Octopus
  3. Prepare sous vide. The temperature for the water bath is 171 °F / 77 °C. Cook for 5 hours. Regrigerate vacuum packed until ready to serve. Reheat before serving.
    Vacuum Packed Octopus Cooked Sous Vide
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Culinary coach and personal chef with extensive knowledge of cuisines from cultures around the world. I invite you into my cooking lab to share my discoveries.
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