How Long Do You Cook Octopus?

Written by lauren griffin
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How Long Do You Cook Octopus?
Stop hanging the octopi out to dry: start cooking. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Whether it's an Italian octopus salad or a rich Spanish seafood paella, octopus is an ingredient that adds a unique texture and taste to dishes. Despite being found in a variety of recipes, many people are unfamiliar with how to cook octopi. While the length of time varies from recipe to recipe and is dependent on the technique used to cook it, there are some basic lengths of time common for cooking octopi.

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Grilled

Many traditional Mediterranean recipes, such as octopus salad, call for grilled octopus. While the grilling may take just a few minutes, the entire process usually takes over three hours. Begin by simmering the octopus in red wine and water, with onions, carrots, celery, thyme and a bay leaf for about 25 minutes. After, marinate the octopus in a plastic zip-lock bag with lime juice, olive oil and garlic in the refrigerator for two hours. Then grill the octopus for about five minutes, flipping it after about two minutes.

Poached

While poaching may not be the quickest way to cook an octopus, this slow cooking method produces an octopus that is very tender and full of flavour. After filling a large pot with a gallon of water, the juice and rinds of a lemon, lime and orange, carrots and celery, merlot and a vast assortment of seasonings, bringing the liquid to a boil may take a while. Add the octopus to the boiling liquid, reduce the heat to medium-low and poach the octopus for 90 minutes.

Simmered & Stewed

Cooking octopus doesn't have to take a long time. To prepare octopus in about 25 minutes, try simmering it in a fragrant wine sauce. Cutting the octopus into smaller bite-sized pieces reduces the amount of time needed to cook it thoroughly. Begin by cooking the octopus in a little olive oil for about 10 minutes, then add slices of onion, salt and pepper and some dry white wine. Cover the pot and simmer the octopus for 15 more minutes.

Sautéed

Sautéing octopus with some flavourful ingredients gives the octopus a rich Mediterranean taste and a crispier texture. Preparing an octopus this way, however, can be time consuming and often takes about an hour and a half. Begin by adding the octopus to boiling water and simmering it for an hour. After cooling for 15 minutes, chop the tentacles into smaller bits, then sauté the pieces in olive oil with some green bell peppers, tomatoes, green olives, oregano and cider vinegar for 10 minutes.

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