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I've been reading up on octopus preparation and the different methods used to tenderise the meat. Rustic recipes call for a good beating against a rock until soapy, others talk of a long boil or braise. Papaya has been mentioned as has a pre-cook freeze. Sous vide is obviously a popular one (times and temperatures vary).

Before I put my experimenting hat on, I wondered if anyone has tried a salt-crust bake or a pastry crust? I feel the juices would be kept in, the temperature would be consistent but I am worried about the salt content.

  • Welcome! Am I understanding right that you're trying to figure out if those would work as tenderization methods? (and perhaps whether any other issues are likely to come up?) – Cascabel Feb 8 '17 at 21:27
  • Hello cookingcostume! On our site, we are somewhat particular about the kind of questions we take. Poll questions, like "which of you has done X" are not accepted. Your question here is good, but the wording of the title could have been mistaken for a poll question, so I changed it to match your body better without looking like a closing candidate. – rumtscho Feb 9 '17 at 9:34
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    Here's another way to tenderize octopus! :-O popsci.com/dolphins-throw-octopus-around – Harlan May 1 '17 at 21:48
  • @Harlan I want to know when animal–welfare groups will begin campaigning the dolphins for all the dolphins' abuses of fish and mollusks. – can-ned_food Aug 29 '17 at 2:39
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ok, so octopus either needs to be cooked for a very short amount of time (just until it's barely cooked through) to keep the muscle tissue tender or for a very long amount of time (2 hrs plus) to break down the connective tissue. The tenderization methods that involve beating it against a rock or whatever are usually for short-cook methods like grilling from raw.

So if you're baking it in a salt crust or pastry crust, that wouldn't be particularly conducive to short-cook methods... it's going to need to be cooked for at least two hours. The main problem I see with cooking octopus using this method is that octopus gives off a TON of liquid when slow cooking, and it would a) dissove enough salt to make it inedibly salty, b) dissolve the salt crust completely leaving you with a salty mess, or c) both. With a pastry crust, you wouldn't have to worry about the octopus being salty, but you would have to worry about the crust becoming a juice-soaked sloppy mess.

Frankly, I'd just give up on the salt crust. You might be able to fashion a crust using salt and egg whites which would stick together, but I really do think it would be inedibly salty.

If you pre-slow-cooked the octopus and made a gravy out of the cooking liquid, you could definitely get in into a pastry crust. That seems like it's more work than what you're looking for though. Good luck!

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From my own experience, frozen octopus as well as squid / calamri, it is best to use the frozen. It is already cleaned and stays tender as you cook. If you have to use fresh they say it stays most tender if you boil for about five minutes then slowly roast in an oven at 200 degrees. I have never tried this method myself. I always used frozen.

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    But this question is explicitly about the effects of a salt or pastry crust? Teddie, welcome to the site! Let me suggest you take the tour and browse our help center to find out about the rules and principles of this site. One rule, for example: Answer the question. – Stephie Jul 23 '17 at 18:08
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    @Stephie : of course, you could also take it as 'the crust might help, but freezing will help you way more, and a fresh octopus in a crust might still be rubber'. Especially as it sounds like the real intention of the question is to find ways to keep it tender, and freezing is one of those ways. I admit, this is the sort of answer I would (and was about to) put in a comment ... but I get told so often that it should've been an actual answer, I don't see a problem. – Joe Aug 31 '17 at 14:59
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Octopus is a bit similar to Calamari or squid. Simmer gently in stock or water for three to four hours. Test after two and a half, three and three and a half hours.

Or do same in a slow oven.

In both cases, pan must be covered.

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    The question specifically asks about cooking in a salt crust, and your answer doesn't mention that anywhere. If you have any experience of cooking octopus or other relevant foods in a salt crust then please add this to your answer – canardgras May 8 '17 at 10:35

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