Over the past several months, octopus dishes have been making waves on menus from coast to coast. With skin capable of changing color, a jet of ink to cover their tracks, two keen eyes, four pairs of arms and a beak, these soft-bodied, highly intelligent mollusks — no, they’re not fish — are among the more elusive seafood items. While octopuses (yes, that’s the proper plural) are sometimes misunderstood, when prepared well, these mysterious creatures make for some delectable dishes. Check out a few fast facts about these tasty invertebrates:
A tricky texture With firm, smooth and slightly bumpy skin complete with “suckers,” octopuses have a unique texture. The best preparations result in a dish that’s firm, chewy and most importantly, never rubbery. When cooked well (either at extremely high or low temperatures), the resulting flavor — both slightly sweet and reminiscent of the salty sea — can’t be beat.
How to buy Octopuses can be purchased in raw form (sometimes even alive) or already boiled, cut and shrink-wrapped. Dried and frozen varieties are also common and in-demand because the freezing process helps tenderize the meat, making it easier to cook.
One healthy treat Octopus is not only tasty, it’s also good for you. Lean, low in calories and high in iron, octopuses contain ample amounts of B12, an essential vitamin for metabolism, blood cell creation and brain function, and selenium, an antioxidant and trace mineral involved in protein metabolism during digestion. Treating your body well never tasted so good!
Here are 16 ways the nation’s top restaurants are satisfying America’s octopus cravings:
Castelvetrano olives, spring onions, fingerling potatoes and yogurt adorn the octopus at coastal-inspired Seaside Metal in Guerneville, just outside of Northern California's picturesque Russian River Valley.