How To Buy And Cook Octopus

A report from the UK Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) has suggested that over the last decade, cold-water fish have begun migrating further north to cooler water, while the number of warm water fish off the UK’s coast has increased - including octopus.

Once, eating frilly, grilled octopus tentacles might have been something you only do while enjoying the Mediterranean diet while on holiday, where fresh octopus and seafood was still in the ocean mere hours ago, and is now on your plate, full of delicious flavours.

However, while octopus is now much more available in the UK, tackling the tentacled sea creature can be daunting for anyone who is used to their seafood being more fish-shaped. We have a look at some tips to help you buy, prepare, and cook this delicious seafood.


Buy as fresh as possible

As with all good produce, the fresher it is the better. However, if you don’t live near the sea and haven’t got an exceptional and well-connected fishmonger, you can sometimes find frozen octopus at some larger supermarkets.

However, you can get fresh and frozen octopus delivered to your door too!


Pick ones with two rows of suckers on their tentacles

When shopping for an octopus, you should look for a double row of suckers on each other eight limbs. Two rows of suckers is an indication of better quality and flavour, however, some people argue that more suckers mean that the flesh may be tougher.


Don’t just eat the tentacles

If you’ve been served octopus in a restaurant, you likely will have been given the tentacles, or occasionally a whole ‘baby’ octopus tangled up in delicious seafood linguine.

But you can be far more adventurous with your octopus at home, for example, the eyes of the octopus are said to be delicious when deep-fried, and the head - mainly the mantle and the siphon, are the least chewy.


There’s an art to tenderising octopus

Octopus can be chewy, it is not as flaky as most fish, and has more of a ‘meaty’ texture. But you’re looking for a good kind of chewy, not like you’re trying to chew a mouthful of Lego tires!

Tenderising your octopus is necessary. In Japan, it’s not unusual to massage octopus by hand, some people douse it in salt, others boil it in short bursts, or you can repeatedly bash it against a hard surface.


Quick cook or low and slow?

Once you’ve tenderised it, then it’s onto simmering. For delicate octopus, simmer for an hour in wine or water to leave it soft and juicy, and from there you can grill it, add it to pasta dishes, or turn your simmering liquid into a broth or soup.

However, you do not need to simmer your octopus, and you can flash fry it instead. Use a high heat and fry it for less than five minutes to produce delicious, hot and chewy (the ‘good’ chewy) octopus, whinge is ideal for salads and sushi.


If you’re looking for octopus delivery in the UK, visit our online store today.