A few years ago I had a delicious 15-hour slow-cooked (then charred) octopus at a japanese restaurant in New York. The flesh was moist and tender without being gelatinous, and I could sense the layers in the tissue as I bit through it.
I've been trying to replicate the process using a sous-vide cooker, with very limited success as my results have invariably produced rubbery octopus.
As even food mega-nerd Harold McGee noted in a New York Times column, the recipes for tender octopus vary tremendously, and even his quest continues.
My instinct is that sous-vide is a good approach here. The sous vide recipes vary, but generally recommend ranges of 170-185F for 3 to 7 hours.
I've tried variants of these (with medium, fresh octopus, bought whole, cleaned and done one leg per bag), but with invariably rubbery results.
Is it possible to get reasonably consistent, moist/tender, medium sized octopus legs using sous-vide cooking?
- If so, what preparation/setting is recommended?
- If not, what are the factors which make this so damn hard?