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Cooked Octopus, Everything You Need To Know!

Jan 30, 2020Octopus

The Cooked Octopus

Did you know that you could buy cooked octopus?

Many people don’t know about this time-saving option. You can buy your octopus in many different ways, in fact: raw, whole, sliced, tentacles only, cooked, cooked tentacles, cooked and sliced, and more. On top of that, octopus retains its flavor and texture once frozen, no matter if it’s cooked or raw (more on this later).

In this blog post, we will tell you everything you need to know about cooked octopus and why buying it cooked is a good option for chefs and home cooks alike.

Contents of this article :

A little bit about octopus
Raw and cooked: what is the difference?
Why is octopus already cooked?
What type of octopus should I buy?
How to prepare cooked octopus

A little bit about octopus

Octopus is a mollusc that has eight legs (octo = eight). It belongs to the same family as squid, cuttlefish, and nautiloids. It doesn’t have any bones but has a beak, which is how they eat. Octopuses live in the ocean , close to coral reefs, shores, or deep water.

Octopus is a popular food in Asia and the Mediterranean region where you can find it on the menu at many restaurants and prepared in many special ways.Its versatility and flavor allows it to go well with a lot of different ingredients.

It is well known that the best octopus in the world to eat lives off the Atlantic coasts of Spain, Portugal and Morocco. This is due to the nutrient-rich diet, one not available to octopuses that live in other areas and in deeper waters. The best octopus is called “day boat octopus”, the most tender and delicious octopus in the world. If you would like to know more about day boat octopus, we wrote an entire article about it.

Once it is caught, companies and fisheries handle the octopus in many different ways. They can deliver it raw, whole, cut, cooked, or sliced so that restaurants, chefs, and home cooks can buy it however they need it.
But what if you don’t know how you need it, or which preparation is best? Read on!

Raw and cooked: what is the difference?

The first decision you need to make is raw or cooked. Both will be frozen so that the octopus retains the best texture. This is an easy decision as the end result is not that different.
Octopus is actually better after it has been frozen. If you would like to know why, you can check out this article.
Because of this you will find frozen raw octopus or frozen cooked octopus most frequently. You may find raw octopus that hasn’t been frozen, but we wouldn’t recommend buying it as it will be less tender than the frozen.
Cooked Octopus
Raw Octopus
The difference between cooked octopus and raw is simply the fact that one of them has been pre-cooked. The company freezes the octopus, cooks it, and freezes it again.
The main advantage of buying cooked octopus is time savings. You just need to thaw it, then eat it as is. You can also grill or fry it, or add it to a salad or any meal.
Don’t worry, the quality of the octopus will be exactly the same whether you buy it cooked or raw!

Why is octopus already cooked?

Companies pre-cook octopus often because it is easier for chefs and home cooks to manage it. When you buy octopus raw or whole you will have to cook the octopus, remove its head, remove the beak, and then prepare each tentacle the way you want to eat it. Most people will not have the time or desire to do that. t is a big hassle. Companies took that into consideration and they now cook it themselves o make it easier for people.

You can now find cooked octopus tentacles, cooked octopus slices, or whole cooked octopus. You just have to unfreeze it and prepare it the way you like. Cooked octopus tentacles come classified by sizes, which makes it easier and faster for restaurant to prepare their dishes. It also helps restaurants with cost control and consistency by allowing them to know exactly how many dishes they will be able to make with one octopus.

An example: Let’s say you buy an octopus that weighs 3 pounds. You have to estimate how many dishes you will be able to make after you remove the head and cook the tentacles. This is not easy to do unless you have experience; tentacles are different sizes which makes it difficult to plate and portion consistently.
But, if you get 8 cooked tentacles that weigh 10 oz. each, you will know how much you need and be able to portion and plate the dish consistently.

What type of octopus should I buy?

Now that you know the difference between raw and cooked octopus, you just have to choose what fits your needs the best. It is entirely up to you.

Do you want to prepare a whole octopus from A to Z in your kitchen?Then buy a whole octopus.

Do you want to enjoy octopus without the hassle of preparation? Then buy cooked octopus, and you will just have to do the most enjoyable part of the work: preparing it!

Here are some tips to make sure your octopus will be delicious and super tender:

  1. Buy an octopus that came from Spain or Portugal.
  2. Buy a day boat octopus.
  3. Make sure the octopus has been frozen.

Do those 3 things and you will get the best octopus. It’s known throughout the world that octopus from Spain and portugal is the best. If you buy a day boat octopus, that means the octopus was living close to the shore, and had a diet of shrimp and clams giving it a great taste. Freezing the octopus breaks the fibers which makes it tender. So if you buy octopus, make sure it has been frozen and if it has not, freeze it!

Whether you buy it cooked or uncooked, the end result will be the same. The main difference will be the hassle in the kitchen and the fact that your raw octopus might not have been tenderized.

Find out more about tenderizing octopus here.

How to prepare cooked octopus

Buying octopus that’s already been cooked is a bonus for you because it will make preparation faster and easier. You don’t have to handle the octopus, no need to remove the head, cut the tentacles, and remove the beak. No need either to tenderize it.

All that’s left to do is to thaw it and prepare it the way you like. You can eat it as is with olive oil and lemon, or you can grill it, sautee it, or fry it.

If you would like to see recipes for octopus, you can check out our article offering octopus recipes. The recipes work with both raw and cooked octopus. Again, the main difference will be that your cooked octopus will be ready to prepare the way you like it.

To sum it up, cooked octopus it is just an easier way to have your octopus. You just have to thaw and prepare it. If you would like to save time and don’t want to bother too much with cooking and tenderizing octopus, cooked octopus is what you should buy!