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How to cook tender and soft octopus without mistakes

Super appreciated in Portuguese cuisine, but you need to know how to prepare it perfectly: learn how to cook octopus to perfection.

How to cook octopus? This is one of the most frequently asked questions by those who enjoy eating this much-loved mollusk at the table and often used in traditional Portuguese cuisine.

This is because the octopus really has to be well cooked for the result to be good, otherwise, we have a ruined dish.

Follow our simple suggestions to get perfectly cooked octopus.

Step by step for a perfectly cooked octopus

1. freeze the octopus – the octopus must be left in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours, as it must be completely defrosted before being cooked.

two. Separate the tentacles from the body of the octopus – for this task you should use a very sharp knife. Lay the octopus out on a cutting board and cut the tentacles at the base.

3. Cut the part that joins the head to the tentacles – this part of the octopus is very tough and should not be eaten, so cut it off, separating it from the head. The head, on the other hand, must be cooked with the tentacles.

4. Remove the ink pack – this step is usually unnecessary, as many octopuses that are commercially available (especially if frozen) no longer have this ink sac. If you have to remove the ink bag, just open the head and remove all the viscera, washing very well.

5. prepare the cooking – the octopus, after being washed, should be cooked in a pan with 2/3 of water. Add an onion, a carrot and a leek (all peeled and broken into pieces) to the water. Add a sprig of parsley and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes.

6. add the octopus – add the tentacles and head of the octopus to the boiling water.

7. Cover the pan – Cover the pan only when the water starts to boil again after adding the octopus. So that the octopus is very tender, let it cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Check with a fork if the octopus is tender. If the octopus meat practically does not cling to the fork, it means it is ready.

8. Remove the octopus from the water – Remove the octopus from the pan and cut them into pieces to be served. This cooked octopus can also be used in other recipes that require the octopus to be previously cooked. Save the water used to cook the octopus as it is an excellent broth to use in other fish or seafood dishes.


By following these tips, your octopus will be cooked to perfection, and whether you eat it right away or use it in other recipes (octopus rice, octopus à lagareiro, and other delicious octopus recipes), one thing is certain: the result it will always be delicious and tender.

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