Does the prospect of eating octopus seem strange to you? You are not alone. The prospect seems strange to many people too.
Octopus is a kind of seafood that most people are skeptical about trying because they don’t know how it would taste or if they will enjoy the taste. Despite the hesitation, if you try octopus that has been cooked well, you might not want to eat any other type of seafood again.
Octopus might seem scary to eat because of how we perceive the animal, but it is actually a common dish in many cuisines around the world. It is common in Chinese and Japanese dishes, but you can also find it in Portuguese, Mediterranean, and Caribbean dishes.
What does octopus taste like? Octopus tastes a lot like squid. The closer comparison to the flavor of octopus is pork or white chicken meat with that hint of the sea. Octopus doesn’t have an intense flavor; it often takes on the flavor of other ingredients in the dish you are making. Grilling octopus makes the meat caramelize, giving it a subtly sweet taste.
This eight-legged creature might be too much for some people, but it is definitely worth trying out. The taste and flavor is not as strange as the creature looks. If you don’t know how to cook it, you can order it at restaurants or look up a recipe online and experiment.
Nutritional Benefits of Octopus
Octopus has high nutritional value. It is low in fats, high in protein, and supplies the body with vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function optimally. Octopus is a kind of food you call nutrient-dense.
One serving of steaming octopus prepared with table salt will supply your body with 30 grams of protein and 163 calories. It contains minerals and vitamins like calcium, zinc, selenium, and vitamin B12. It also contains phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. The level of sodium depends highly on how it is prepared.
Octopus can help to promote heart health. The body uses Omega-3 fatty acids to make hormones and cell membranes that control blood clotting, blood pressure, and inflammation. Seafood is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Octopus, being seafood, can lower the risk of cardiac arrest or related heart diseases if it is incorporated into one’s diet.
Octopus can also boost the immune system. It provides the body with most of the nutrients needed to strengthen the immune system.
Culinary Uses of Octopus
Octopus isn’t a meat you can buy at the store or the butcher’s shop. But, if you come across octopus, how do you use it in the kitchen?
The tentacles of the octopus are the most consumed part. These boneless, rubber-like limbs help the octopus to move unhindered through tight spaces. The head of the octopus can also be eaten, but it is not eaten as frequently as the tentacles.
Before eating an octopus, you have to ensure that its intestines, ink sac, and mouthpiece are removed and disposed of. You also need to take special care to clean the octopus before cooking it. It is best to buy an octopus that has been gutted and cleaned. If you buy it yourself, be prepared to do a lot of work and get your hands dirty.
Octopus can be eaten raw, but if you will be trying it for the first time, it is best to not eat dishes that have used raw octopus. Octopus can be boiled, steamed, seared, grilled, or fried. You can use it in soups, barbecues, or stews. It can even be served with salad or pasta.
Octopus has a subtle flavor that pairs well with anything. If cooked well, it will have a delicious sweetness with a touch of the sea.
Origin of Octopus and Where to Procure It
Octopus is a sea creature. It is classified as seafood and a mollusk. Soft-bodied invertebrate animals are called mollusks; snails and clams are also mollusks. Snails and clams have shells to protect themselves from their environment and predators, but octopuses don’t.
The octopus is easily recognized thanks to its eight tentacles. As a defense mechanism, it has a body that can fit into any crevice or crack, so it can run away from predators.
The octopus tentacles, also known as octopus arms, have suckers that help them move around easily. Octopus is a staple in Japanese sushi dishes and has also found its way into Greek cuisine.
Octopus can be gotten from fishmongers. It can be procured frozen or fresh. If you are lucky, you might even get a live one. You have to be careful not to buy fake octopus because it is not uncommon for fishmongers to sell different types of fish, claiming it is an octopus. At times, giant squid tentacles are disguised as octopuses, so you must be extra careful.
Is Octopus Tough to Eat?
When eaten raw, octopus might feel rubbery. But when it is properly cooked, octopus is usually tender. Its texture can be somewhat chewy, similar to lobster. It is slimy at first, but all that slime goes away when it has been properly cooked.
The level of the chewiness of octopus depends on how it is cooked. So, the texture of octopus can range from chewy to melt-in-your-mouth.
Facts You Don’t Know About Octopus
- Frozen octopus tends to retain a fresh, delicate flavor when cooked. It will also be more tender.
- There are more than 300 species of octopus, and all of them are poisonous, so be careful when handling a live one.
- A tiny octopus, as small as a golf ball, carries enough venom to paralyze or kill 26 able-bodied men.