Embracing The Octopus, Tenderly
I like calamari stuffed, marinated, grilled, fried. Pasta with squid’s ink sauce is fine with me. I have never seen anyone eating octopus heads nor have i tried this feat. The Independent quotes a Reuters story noting South Korean warning on eating octopus heads (October 22, 2010) which they say is a popular dish in South Korea because of its supposed aphrodisiac powers.(Read more…)
Octopus Garden is a specialty seafood market located along the far reaches of Avenue U in Bensonhurst. Operated by Vincent and Pina Cutrone, the unassuming corner storefront long been known to chefs like Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin as the go-to place for fresh octopus and sepia.
The nine year-old Brooklyn fish market specializes in, but is not limited to, all things cephalopod, a class that includes squid, octopus, and cuttlefish. The octopuses Cutrone sells range from just a few ounces to five pounds, or more. Sepia are hand-cleaned and tenderized in-house by a large, basin-sized machine that pummels the fish: it can be seen just behind the display counter toward the back of the shop. Tenderization is necessary: cephalopod cooking is a vaguely mysterious process complicated by folk wisdom and family secrets, proving to be difficult even to some professional chefs — and one of the reasons that many restaurants leave octopus off their menus. Recipes often involve a few wine bottle corks and a slow simmering pot, as corks are rumored to contain a tenderizing enzyme. In other recipes, a good rock beating is advised (Octopus Garden does not sell rocks).(Read more…)
By MARK BITTMAN
Published: October 16, 1999
As an ancient denizen of the deep – its ancestors lived at least 200 million years ago — octopus has long been mysterious, thanks to its appearance, intelligence, habits, and remarkable defense mechanisms. (Not only can it shoot a confusing jet of ink to cover its retreat, its skin can change color, almost like a flashing neon sign.) But strange as it may be, the octopus is neither unfamiliar nor uncommon: It thrives in warm and temperate waters throughout the world, feeding on crustaceans and fellow mollusks (technically, octopus is a molluscan cephalopod). Happily, for us at least, it also develops a lovely flavor and texture, as long as it is handled correctly. (Read more…)
Debate Rages in South Korea, How Many Octopus Heads Is It Safe To Eat?
Eight Arms to Braise, Then Grill
By MARK BITTMAN
Published: September 08,1999
A RAW octopus resting on ice at the seafood store is definitely the ugliest thing in the vicinity — nothing like the many-hued snappers or even the white, pristine cleaned squid. No, this floppy, gray, suction-cupped monster seems to have been born with a natural defense aimed directly at the home cook. ”I am,” it growls, ”too hideous to eat.” (Read more…)