Why Greek Style Octopus is So Good
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Octopus has a bit of a reputation of not being very tasty, especially amongst non-Greeks. Perhaps it’s because they haven’t given it a chance, or maybe they’ve simply eaten octopus that hasn’t been prepared correctly. One thing is for sure – they way octopus is prepared in Greece makes all the difference! Here are some insights as to how Greeks prepare Octopus so that it is so delicious:
Only the Freshest Octopus are Used
In Greece, only seafood that is freshly caught is being used. The waters around Greece are bountiful, which means that it is pretty easy to find fresh fish and other seafood on a regular basis. There are also plenty of octopus in the seas around Greece. When they’re caught, they are prepared a certain way to make them extra tender. However, it all begins with a freshly caught or hunted octopus.
Fresh octopus seem to swim close to the shore, which means that they are relative easy to catch. Many Greeks use spears to pierce their bodies, and they tend to hunt for them at night.
Preparing Octopus for Cooking
Once the octopus is caught, it then needs to be prepared for cooking. Much of the reason why it tastes so delicious and is so tender when eating this seafood in Greece, has to do with the process that is taken to prepare it for cooking. This insures that the creature will be as tender and as delicious as possible.
When the octopus is caught, the hunter immediately begins smacking the tentacles violently against a hard surface, such as a rock or the side of a pier or building. In order for the meat to become tender, it needs to be tenderized. Although the chef does much to facilitate this process, it really does begin with the fisherman when he smacks the octopus against a hard surface.
After that, the mollusk is brought to the restaurant or taverna where it is hung to dry. The natural salt from the sea remains after the water evaporates, and this helps to tenderize the animal further. Sun drying is looked at as the optimum method for tenderizing it, but chefs do use other methods. Some boil the animal, others use a washing machine to help tenderize it. These alternate methods are usually done in locations that aren’t close to the sea.
Recipes that Use Octopus
Once the octopus is properly tenderized, it can then be used in your recipe of choice. Common methods for preparing it include grilling it or braising it. Frying octopus is very rare and Greeks find that they prefer this seafood when it is tenderized properly and then prepared simply to enhance its natural flavors. Here are some common recipes that enhance the natural flavors of the octopus:
- Octopus With Ouzo
- Wine Braised Octopus
- Octopus Salad (Oktopodi Salata)
- Grilled Octopus
- Octopus With Garlic Sauce
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to prepare octopus in Greek cuisine. Consider trying one of them!
Categorized in: Greek Cooking
This post was written by Greek Boston