Octopus has a bad reputation for being tough and rubbery when cooked at home. However, if you know the secrets to tenderizing it you will be able to make this exotic (outside of Italy, anyway) salad with just the right bite!
When you buy fresh octopus, you need to either freeze and thaw it or beat it vigorously to tenderize it before cooking. If your fish-monger has fresh octopus ask him if he will tenderize the octopus for you. Otherwise, when you get home spend about half an hour banging on the stiff invertebrate or flinging it against your neighborhood’s rocky landscaping to counteract the rigor mortis or… you can just put it in the freezer. I let the octopus defrost for a day in the refrigerator before using it for this recipe.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|6 L or larger||none||10-15 min.||High(2)||Normal|
- 1 Octopus of about 2 lbs. or 1 kilo.
- 2 lbs. or 1 kilo of Potatoes (about 6 medium)
- 3 cloves of Garlic
- 1 bunch of parsley vinegar olive oil
- 1 bay laurel leaf
- ½ Tbsp of pepper, in korns salt
- Remove the head, slit it in half and turn it inside out to empty it's contents and the little attached things including the eyes (see illustration, below). Then, remove the beak in the center where all of the tentacles meet. Rinse the cleaned octopus under running water.
- In the meantime, cook the potatoes. Wash and scrub the potatoes well and place them whole, un-peeled, in the pressure cooker. Add enough water to just cover the potatoes in half, a pinch of salt and close and lock the top.
- Set the flame to high and wait for the pan to begin whistling. Then, lower the flame to medium-low and count 15 minutes. When the time is up, release all of the vapor, remove the potatoes with tongs (reserve the cooking water), and peel them while they are as hot as you can handle. I use tongs and a fork to get started - they are so easy to peel when they are still steaming hot!
- Next, cook the octopus. Add more water in the pressure cooker (enough to almost cover the octopus), garlic clove, Bay leaf, the whole pepper, another pinch of salt and bring to a boil before adding the octopus.
- Lower the octopus in the pressure cooker tentacles- first. If you will be serving the tentacles whole, and you want to curl them, dip the tips of the tentacles and pull out, then dip a little more and pull out, and a little more again and pull out until the whole length of the tentacle is curled. Then drop the whole octopus in the pressure cooker.
- Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum required by the cooker to maintain pressure. Cook for 15-20 minutes at high pressure (depending on the size of the octopus).
- When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.
- Check the octopus for tenderness by seeing if a fork will sink easily in the thickest part flesh. If not, close the lid and bring it and bring to pressure for another minute or two.
- Remove and Strain the octopus (save the cooking water and use as broth makingRisotto ai Frutti di Mare!).
- Optionally, you can remove the skin by dragging the back of a knife on the flesh - only remove the skin from the suction-cup side if you also want to remove the suction cups.
- Chop the head and tentacles into small bite-sized chunks.
- While the octopus is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette by putting the following in a small jar or plastic container: ½ cup of good olive oil, 4-5 Tbsp. of white wine vinegar, two crushed garlic cloves, salt and ground pepper to taste. Close the lid and shake, shake, shake to blend.
- Dice the potatoes in pieces roughly the same size as the octopus chunks, unite them with the octopus, cover in the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the whole bunch of chopped parsley.
- Chill before serving - it's even better the next day so cover tightly!