Octopus!

I love cooked octopus! I love the texture of it when it is grilled, sautéed, or marinated in vinegar. For me love the texture, it is like sautéed calamari (baby squid): when sautéed you expect it to have a rubbery texture but it’s not rubbery. Instead it is delicate and tender. That’s octopus but not as delicate and thicker than squid, but so good!

The first time I had octopus was during my first trip to Italy with my family while living in the Netherlands. My family decided to have a family reunion in the coastal town of Castiglioncello in Tuscany and this reunion fell during July 4th (Independence Day). So, instead of having a classic American July 4th cook-out, we decided to have big Italian style dinner. To do so we hired a professional cook to make the July 4th dinner where the owners of the villa decided they would pitch in and help. One of the items on the menu for the night was grilled octopus. I found this out by walking into the kitchen that afternoon after walking back from the town center to find a large octopus sitting in a large pot of boiling water with tendrils hanging out. My mother, who is an amazing chef, was fascinated by the octopus and stood in the kitchen watching the chef cook the large sea animal.

I’ve been eating octopus ever since that July 4th in Italy from pasta frutti di mare to sushi. But it wasn’t until recently that I decided to try cooking octopus myself when I found it in the frozen seafood section of my local Giant grocery store. I placed a package of frozen octopus in my shopping basket thinking this would be a wonderful way to add variety to my Lent meals (I gave up land animal meat for Lent). I took the octopus home and cooked it.

Since I have never cooked octopus before I followed the instructions on the back of the package. So, I boiled the octopus in a pot with water, three cloves garlic, and dry white wine for 25 minutes. After the octopus was finished boiling I blanched it in cold water to stop the heat from cooking the octopus while I heated up a pan with olive oil. I put the octopus in the pan and added salt and pepper. I sautéed the octopus for a 2-3 minutes, then took it out of the pan and cut the octopus into bite size pieces. I then tossed the cut octopus in olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette. For the first time cooking octopus it was not bad but I would like to try cooking pan sautéed octopus without boiling it in water first.

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