Seafood is a great libido booster and perhaps if people ate it more often – the world would be a better, mellower place. But when it comes to seafood in particular the line between a great dish vs a throwaway one is thinner than a perineum.
Thanks to the engineers, sous vide really saves the day in this case. I practically don’t test my luck with traditional seafood cooking methods anymore. Why risk the product if there is a sure way to cook it with very little effort and maximum results? That said, I will not talk about sous vide today because there are exceptions to every rule and I want to share one of them.
Octopus may be one of the sexiest looking and tastiest sea foods I have ever tried. A combination of tender, moist and rich meat, its pinkish color, hundreds of suction cups on thick, long and tasty tentacles – the whole package is quite arousing and appealing. All of the above is true, however, if you know how to cook Octopus because chances are it will come out dry and rubbery like your Russian girlfriend when she finds out that you really have not much money but already slept with you.
Similar to sous vide, below method involves very low effort but delivers outstanding results with much less investment of time.
There are two general approach to cook a tender, juicy and great looking Octopus:
- Boil it quick to ensure the meat doesn’t get a chance to become rubbery.
- Boil it for few hours to break the proteins and get more tender meat.
I am not a huge fan of either way.
The first one is a non-starter because quickies are always dangerous in terms of calculated ability to pull out in time.
The second one is time consuming and also not a guarantee that the meat would be tender. It probably would be my choice if circumstances at hand forced me to cook in a pot. At the end, there is always a choice to boil it longer until done but if I had to invest several hours into this – might as well add a few more and cook sous vide.
The two less conventional but most appealing to me methods are:
- Sous vide – extremely time consuming but rewarding with incredible taste and tenderness. Stay tuned for an update from my experiments with it.
- Pressure cooked method. My favorite so far.
This post will concentrate on sharing my experience cooking octopus in a stove top pressure cooker.
Pressure cookers make extremely tasty and healthy food. As a bonus add – they also do it quick.
There are great articles explaining the Maillard reaction which I already summarized for your easy digestion. The soup recipes mentioned on this site also have lots of useful details on the benefits of pressure cookers. And of course, as always, Kenji’s deep and thorough analysis is a must read. If you ever use a slow cooker after reading it – you may be a moron.
Alright, enough said. Let’s cut the bullshit and get to the point.