The octopus is among the most appreciated molluscs in the kitchen and can be used in many preparations. Here are five recipes for delicious appetizers, for complete first courses or fresh and summer main courses
Between clams most appreciated in the kitchen is undoubtedly the octopus: readily available, light and versatile, it can be used in many preparations. It is in fact the ideal ingredient for a tasty appetizer or for a complete first course, but also for a second fresh and summer. We suggest some recipes to prepare the octopus depending on the occasion: if you have guests for an aperitif, you can prepare the Galician Octopus, which in Spain is often served as a "tapa" to accompany beer, or excellent bruschetta with octopus and habanero pepper. For an elegant dinner instead, try the octopus sauce, excellent for seasoning spaghetti or strozzapreti. For a light lunch the ideal is thesalad with octopus and rosemary potatoes, while for a complete second course we propose you octopus with cannellini beans and rocket.
But first of all, let's get to know the octopus better and find out how to prepare it.
The octopus, a mollusk up to three meters
The octopus is a large mollusk, it can even reach three meters larger specimens they are sold as "octopus". Generally it is gray, with yellowish or pinkish shades; it is equipped with an oval-shaped sack, narrower in the vicinity of the head: from here eight long tentacles with a double row of suction cups come off. It is fished throughout the year, so you won't have problems buying it in different seasons. To recognize the fresh octopus, take a look at its epidermis, which must be bright and vibrant in color.
Clean the octopus and curl the tentacles
Before you even start cooking, it is essential to clean the octopus if you have not had it done by your trusted fishmonger. Begin rinsing the octopus under cold water, rubbing it with both hands on the head and on the tentacles. Then dry it by dabbing it with a dishcloth or kitchen paper and on a cutting board cut the bag with a knife, at eye level to eliminate them. Then also remove the beak, carving with a small knife around the mouth and digging inside. Finally, beat the octopus with a meat mallet, to break the fibers. Rinse the octopus e remove the entrails from the bag, then carefully wash the inside. Finally rub again head and tentacles to remove the slimy patina and remove any sand residue from the suction cups.
To curl the octopus tentacles and make the aesthetics of the preparations with the most pleasant octopus, before cooking it immerse the tips of the tentacles in boiling water and make them re-emerge. Repeat this 3-4 times.
Another tip: to make sure of the actual cooking of the octopus, always check the consistency with a toothpick or a fork.
Here it is now 5 dishes for the summer in which to use the octopus.
Warm salad of octopus and rosemary potatoes
For a light lunch or to accompany a second course of fish, you can prepare a warm salad of octopus and rosemary potatoes. Put a glass of white wine in a pan of cold water, a mixture of vegetables to fry (150 g of carrots, celery and onions cut into cubes) and a sprig of parsley. Bring to a boil, then cook over low heat for about 15 minutes. Then immerse the octopuses (500 g) with the tentacles upwards and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, peel 8 potatoes, slice them not too thin and steam them on salted water. Arrange the potatoes in a salad bowl and sprinkle them with a little wine: then add the octopus drained and cut into pieces, salt to taste and season with rosemary and black pepper scented oil, to be obtained by leaving a sprig of rosemary in infusion for half an hour in a glass of oil.
Typical Spanish dish, the Gallega octopus is excellent to serve as an aperitif, just like a "tapa". Put the clean octopus (1 kg) in boiling water with coarse salt and half an onion. Boil for 45 minutes, then drain with a slotted spoon and keep the cooking water aside. While the octopus cools, prepare the potatoes (350 g): peel them and cut them into thin slices, then put the octopus cooking water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and boil the potatoes for a few minutes. Cut the octopus, now cooled, into small pieces. Prepare the dish by placing the potatoes first and then the pieces of octopus. Season with raw extra virgin olive oil, parsley and a mixture of sweet and spicy chilli powder in equal parts.
Octopus and cannellini with rocket
Cook in plenty of unsalted water, with a peeled clove of garlic and a bay leaf, 250 g of dried cannellini beans, after leaving them to soak overnight. Add salt only at the end of cooking; when the cannellini beans are soft, drain them and place them to cool in a bowl. Cook 1 kg of octopus, well cleaned, for about an hour in a pot with boiling salted water, together with two other cloves of garlic and a sprig of parsley (tied, so that it is easier to remove). Drain the octopus while it is still warm and remove it from the suckers, then cut it into pieces. Wash two bunches of rocket and chop it with your hands, then add it to cold beans and pieces of octopus. At this point, it remains only to season the preparation with an emulsion made with oil, salt, pepper, juice and rind cut into strips of two lemons, juice of the remaining clove of garlic, crushed.
Pasta with octopus sauce
For an octopus first course, you can try to prepare an excellent sauce to dress strozzapreti, spaghetti or even pappardelle. First, clean the octopus (800 g) very carefully, then cook it for about 40 minutes on a low heat in a saucepan, with water boiled with bay leaf and a clove of crushed garlic. Drain it, let it cool, then cut it into pieces. Then prepare the rest of the sauce: brown a clove of garlic in a non-stick frying pan, remove it once golden and sauté with celery, carrots and chopped onions (50 g of each ingredient). Then add the pieces of octopus, fry for a couple of minutes and, stirring constantly, add 200 g of tomatoes cut into wedges. Finally, pour 350 g of tomato puree into the pan, cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes and then salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, you can prepare the pasta: drain it al dente in the pan with the sauce and mix well. At this point you just have to serve and serve on the table.
Bruschetta with octopus
For a crunchy and delicious appetizer, you can try the bruschetta with octopus and habanero pepper. Cook the clean octopus (400 g) for about 15 minutes in a pot of water brought to a boil. Drain, let cool, and cut into small pieces. Then mix it in a bowl with the juice of a lemon, a clove of minced garlic, two tablespoons of chopped parsley and salt q.b. Let stand at least half an hour. Meanwhile, prepare the bread: cut thick enough slices of homemade bread and toast them on the embers or in the oven. Rub the clove of garlic and habanero pepper onto the bread at will, then season with a pinch of salt and oil. At this point, there is nothing left but to place the octopus on the bruschetta: immediately bring it to the table to serve the still-warm bruschetta.
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