MM. RICHARDSON

Baby Octopus Recipes

Char-grilled baby OctopusSalad            


It’s probably wrong to eat baby octopus isn’t it? I haven’t looked it up because I may not like what I find. 
I mean, they’re all small or whatever and we all know that’s supposed to be wrong.
 We skewered and char-grilled them on the BBQ.

I thought they deserved a good send off, so I lay them to rest on a comfortable Thai-style bedding of shredded things:
 practically seedless baby cucumbers, spring onions and herbs dressed with plenty of chilli, lime and fish sauce. 
I wondered if the sweetness of a seriously ripe mango might be pushing things but the flavour worked even though>br>
 the texture wasn’t perfect.
There is something quite challenging about eating octopus.
 I remember well the fear I faced when tackling my first, full-size beasty; he also arrived frozen and went from mysterious,
 solid and portable to formless and slippery as hell.
 After I’d manned up though, all I had were thoughts of bite-size chunks scattered amongst just-cooked potatoes 
dusted with paprika and parsley and slugged with good olive oil. Oh I want it again.

Small octopus are a good starting point if you’re squeamish about these things. 
Our neighbour stuck his head over the balcony to take a look while we were cooking them and he seemed quite interested; 
I’ve only ever seen the man grill a sausage or burger. 
 He let himself down shortly afterwards with the admission that he uses a gas BBQ. We berated him appropriately and moved on.


You want to cook your octopus fast so get the BBQ very hot – the coals need to be white before you start grilling.
 It helps with tentacles (be it squid or octopus) to try and drape them across the grill to stop
them falling between the rungs and burning. A few minutes each side will do it. The resulting flesh should be tender, the tentacles lightly charred. Char-grilled baby octopus salad (The octopuses need a bit of time in the marinade (a few hours) so bear this in mind). Approximately 25 baby octopuses. Defrost them thoroughly before using. 4 baby cucumbers or 1 full-size large cucumber, de-seeded and cut into thin strips 1 handful mint leaves, shredded 1 handful coriander leaves, picked from the stalks and left whole 1 large mango, cut into strips. I find the easiest way to do this is to cut around the stone so you have two cheeks (or use a totally unnecessary but brilliant ‘mango stoner‘ to get the same effect. Then score the cheeks into strips before cutting underneath away from the skin. 4 large or 6 small spring onions, cut into strips. You can make them curly if you are having people over or feeling enthusiastic like I was by plunging them into iced water for 20 minutes or so. 1/2 iceberg lettuce, finely shredded For the marinade/dressing 1 mild red chilli, finely diced Juice of 1-2 limes 2 tablespoons fish sauce 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon sugar 5 limes leaves, shredded (optional) 1 smallish (3cm square) cube ginger, peeled and chopped 1 tablespoon oil, for cooking the octopus Begin by making the marinade/dressing. (I make my dressings using a pestle and mortar but if you don’t have one then use a small blender or just crush your non-liquid ingredients then shake everything up in an empty jam jar). Pound your garlic and ginger with the merest pinch of salt (fish sauce is salty) until they resemble a paste. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, lime leaves and chilli and mix well. Taste and adjust the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar as you see fit. Use a third of this mixture to marinade the octopus, plus the tablespoon of oil. Rub it all over them and refrigerate for about 3-4 hours. Light the BBQ about 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook them. When you’re ready thread them onto skewers (soaked in cold water for an hour if they are wooden) and grill for a few minutes each side until tender and slightly charred. Mix the lettuce, spring onions, mango, herbs and cucumber together in a bowl and dress them with another third of the dressing. Arrange on a plate then scatter the octopus on top and drizzle the remaining third of the dressing over the top.


      




Barbecued octopus and chorizo salad


Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes (plus 15 minutes marinating time)

800g baby octopus, cleaned, halved
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbs finely chopped oregano
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
1 red onion, cut into wedges
100g baby rocket leaves
2 tbs capers, drained

1.Combine the octopus, garlic, paprika, oregano, half the lemon juice and half the oil in a large bowl.
  Season with pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to marinate.
2.Preheat a barbecue or char-grill pan on high. Add the chorizo and cook for 1 minute each side or until golden.
  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Reduce heat to low and add the onion.
  Cook, turning occasionally, for 2 minutes or until onion is soft and just starting to caramelise. 
  Transfer to a plate.
3.Place the octopus on the barbecue and cook, turning occasionally, for 2 minutes or until just cooked through.
  Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes to rest.
4.Combine remaining lemon juice and oil in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
 Arrange rocket, chorizo, onion and capers on serving plates. 
 Top with octopus and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.


Baby Octopus in Tomato Sauce

Recipe to cook Polipetti in Salsa di Pomodoro or Baby Octopus in Tomato Sauce.

Ingredients

2 pounds baby octopus (6 octopi)
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes or chopped canned Italian peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
pinch of crushed red pepper
salt
6 to 12 friselle (black pepper biscuits) or slices toasted Italian bread
Directions

1.Rinse the octopus and drain well. Remove the hard round beak at the base of the tentacles of each octopus.
2.In a large heavy saucepan, combine the octopus, tomatoes, oil, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, the garlic,
  red pepper, and salt to taste. Bring sauce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook over very low heat,
  stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook for 15 minutes more, or until the octopus 
  is tender when pierced with a knife and the sauce is thick.
3.Sprinkle the friselle with water to soften them slightly. Divide the friselle, or slices of toast, among six plates. 
Top with the octopus and sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and serve.

Baby Octopus Rice Curry      

 I thought baby octopus would be lovely with curry rice. And it turned out wonderful!

Ingredients:

•Pulpitos (baby octopus)
•Chorizo ibérico de bellota
•Rice
•Curry powder
•Red bell peppers
•Green peas
•Spanish paprika (pimentón picante)
•Garlic
•Olive oil
•Basil (albahaca)
•Salt & Pepper

Procedure:

1.Sauté in olive oil the onion, garlic and chorizo
2.On medium high heat, pan-fry with a little olive oil skin-side first.
3.Using a frying spatula, apply a bit of pressure to the skin-side so it lies flat on the pan.
  Doing this turns the skin crispy brown.
4.Flip to cook the other side for 2-3 minutes
5.Plate it and drizzle with vinegar or squeeze a slice of lemon
Enjoy a cold glass of beer or vino blanco!


Pasta with Baby Octopus           


If you can’t find fresh baby octopuses, you can certainly used the frozen ones.
 Those are already cleaned. If you buy the fresh ones, all you have to do to clean them is to turn the head inside out and wash the entrails.
 Then pull out the eyes and remove the mouth which is found at the center of the octopus where the tentacles meet the head and body. 
It’s as easy as cleaning fresh squid. 
If you can only find large octopus, cook that longer until it’s tender and just slice it in smaller pieces before tossing with the pasta.

Ingredients:
2 pounds of baby octopuses, cleaned, washed, drained
1 bundle of spaghetti
2 cups basic tomato sauce
12 fresh mint leaves
3 tbsps red wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
red chili flakes
olive oil, salt, pepper

1. Using a large pot, cook pasta al dente in boiling salted water for about 8 minutes.
 Remove and drain. Set aside.
 You will cook the pasta more later.
2. While cooking the pasta, cook the octopuses. 
 In a large saucepot, combine octopuses with the red wine vinegar and just enough water to cover. 
 Cook uncovered and immediately remove from heat as soon as the octopuses change color.
 Drain and set aside to let cool.
3. In a large skillet, heat some olive oil. Sauté the garlic until golden brown.
 Add the tomato sauce and chili flakes and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes.
 Add the octopuses and the pasta. Toss over high heat for about a minute with the mint leaves. 
Season with salt and pepper.


Shrimp and Octopus Soup (Caldo de Camaron y Pulpo)


 This is a 'Caldo' or soup made with Shrimp and Octopus.
 This is for all the Mexican and seafood lovers.
 This soup can be eaten with Tortillas or Tostadas."

Ingredients
2 quarts water
2 pounds octopus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cups cubed potatoes
1/2 cup crushed dry pasilla chile peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion, or to taste
1 cup diced tomato
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp in shells
1 cup fresh corn kernels (optional)
salt to taste
Directions
1.Place the water in a large soup pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
 Add octopus, and continue boiling for about 20 minutes. 
2.While the octopus is boiling, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
 Add carrots, celery, potatoes, and pasilla pepper. 
 Fry for about 15 minutes, adding the onion and tomato at the very end. 
 The ingredients do not need to be fully cooked. 
3.When the octopus has boiled for 20 minutes, add the shrimp in their shells to the octopus, 
 and let it boil for 5 more minutes.
 Add the vegetables from the skillet, and season with salt to your liking.
 If corn is used, put it in with the shrimp. 
 Let everything simmer together for 15 minutes.