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A relation of the squid and cuttlefish found in warm seas worldwide. The octopus has eight tentacles and its curved and parrot–like mouth is found underneath its body along with an ink sac, which squirts out indelible black ink when the octopus is threatened. While the ink sac should be removed before cooking, the ink can be used in cooking and makes great pasta and a dramatic black risotto. Larger octopus tend to be tough—tenderize before cooking by pounding with a wooden mallet, blanching or freezing. Small or baby octopus are more tender and need neither beating nor blanching before cooking. Octopus can be grilled, poached, sautéed, fried or steamed. Cooking it slowly over low heat makes the flesh more tender. Larger octopus should be simmered gently for about 60 to 90 minutes. Baby octopus are perfect for barbecuing. Fresh octopus will last for 1 to 2 days in the fridge and for about 3 months in the freezer.
Recipe by Ed Baines