Cooking octopus at home can seem daunting, which is why I think we are reluctant to give it a go, but it's not that hard, it just takes time and there is a process to follow to get the most out of your octopus.
Octopus flesh is tough and requires tenderising. There are lots of old wives tales on how to tenderise an octopus from the gentle massaging it with wine corks to the ridiculous bagging and putting in the the washing machine on a spin cycle. It's actually really simple, just gently simmer it for one to two hours.
The octopus we sell is whole, raw and cleaned so once defrosted you are ready to go. Freezing the octopus helps to tenderise the meat so you are already ahead of the game. The first stage of preparing your octopus is to simmer it, we simmer the octopus whole but you can section the octopus up at this stage if you prefer or if your recipe suggests doing so. If you do want to section the octopus it's pretty easy, just cut the tentacles from the head, you can throw away the head at this point if you aren't going to eat it and just cook the tentacles.
The most basic way of cooking octopus is to simmer it in liquid. Fill a saucepan with salted water and bring to the boil. Some recipes cook the octopus is a stock or in wine to impart more flavour. Add the octopus, reduce the heat immediately and simmer gently for 60 to 90 minutes. It's important that the water is turned down to a gentle simmer as soon as the octopus is in the pan. Boiling or cooking it too quickly will make the octopus rubbery. You will be able to tell if it's ready if you push a knife into the thickest part of the tentacle and it goes in easily.
Once the octopus is cooked and tender you can finish it in any number of ways, you can marinate it and serve it sliced without any further cooking or finishing it on the BBQ to give it a nice charr and smoky flavour is one of our favourite ways and it's pretty easy too. You can store the cooked octopus tentacles in the fridge and use them in a number of recipes over a few days, trying out different ways to cook and discovering your favourite. We would always recommend keeping it simple to start with, try not to add to many flavours so you can taste the octopus, the decide how you want to try it next time.