My love affair with octopus began a long time ago, when I first moved into my own apartment and spent lots of time experimenting in the kitchen.
I remember clearly driving all the way to North Miami, to a place called Lorenzo’s, to get a fresh octopus to cook an Italian recipe I got from a cookbook. The dish was called curled octopus Busara style and was made with tomato sauce, white wine, garlic, parsley and chili pepper and served with white polenta. I was ambitious back then, with plenty of time on my hands.
The most challenging part of the task was cleaning the octopus. Making sure that inside the head was empty; that the eyes were cut off and the beak (mouth) was removed was a daunting experience, especially for the squeamish.
Next, I had to beat the octopus in order to soften it. I took a frying pan and proceeded to bang the crap out of it for about half an hour.
The meal was delicious but I never attempted to prepare another octopus from scratch until now. They had to be another way to get it to soften quickly other than bashing it like a maniac.
This time I used a pressure cooker and after cleaning it, I put the delicious sea creature to cook for twenty minutes together with some thyme, oregano, curry and salt. It came out perfectly soft and ready to make a myriad of dishes with it. I chose to keep it simple and just added lemon juice, olive oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Divine!
I have so many plans for future uses of octopus prepared this way: add it to curries, grill it with potatoes, stew it, make a ceviche; the possibilities are endless.
My love for octopus got stronger and it will be in my kitchen more often from now on.
Below is a video for an easy octopus curry. You can use baby octopus like in the recipe or a regular octopus (2lbs to 3lbs) and follow the pressure cooker method above. Cut into bite size pieces before adding to the pot.
Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MZ8QL8pwwE
*Cover photo by Ekaterina Kondratova*