We will start decoding Nicky Hilton feast with the recipe for Octopus salad.
The basic recipe for octopus salad is very simple: clean the octopus and cook it until fork tender. Leave it to cool. Cut it into bite size pieces. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and and salt and pour over sliced octopus. Leave it in the cool place for several hours before serving.
Well, although this recipe says all you need to do to prepare excellent octopus salad, actually it does not say anything. All the important secrets, which often can't be scientifically approved, are left hidden.
First of all, if you are lucky enough to have hunted octopus yourself or bought it still alive, you will have to clean it. The best way to clean it is to turn it's body inside out by inserting two fingers inside the body. Pull out internal organ and stomach suck with fingers. Afterwards, remove beak (which you will find in the center where tentacles meets) and push the eyes out. Rinse the octopus and continue the preparation.
Other method is to cut around beak and removing internal organ, stomach suck and beak all at once.
To avoid rubbery and chewy octopus you will have to do at least one of the following:
- If you have hunted the octopus, beat it several times against rock as soon as you catch it (you can do this in your kitchen too, using the wooden kitchen hammer);
- put it in the freezer for at least two hours or over the night;
- remove it from cooking water before or after the phase in which it gets rubbery (yea, right!)
- Cook it with a cork in the pot;
- Precook the tentacles: Put the water to boil. Holding the octopus body, put the tentacles in water and then pull it out. Tentacles will curl. Repeat this 4 or 5 times. Afterwards, put the octopus in cold salted water, slowly bring it to boil for about 90 minutes (depending of the size).
- Leave it to cool in the water in which it was cooked;
- Before cooking, cut into the "root" of the tentacle with the sharp knife. It will cut the nerves which will "relax" tentacles and it will result with tender meat at the end.
- for the octopus of 1 kg takes about one and a half hour of cooking. Smaller octopus take less and bigger more cooking time;
- Some cook octopus in unsalted water since salt can hared the meat;
- Some like to put sliced lemon or small amount of vinegar in the cooking water;
- Some like to cook octopus in half water, half red wine vinegar,
Some like to remove the skin but I prefer to leave it since it's very tasteful (if skin goes off during the cooking, it shows that octopus is not fresh).
If you need larger amount of salad, you can add potatoes (carefully wash potatoes and cook whole, unpeald together with octopus. How long to cook potatoes? Add potatoes to octopus according to size and needed cooking time).
What method of preparation to choose it's up to you!