Friday, 26 October 2007

8-arms, 3-hearts and a Recipe


Yet again, I am amazed at how much I am learning since I started this blog. Since it's BBQ season down-under and I've been wanting to post this simple yet tasty grilled baby octopus recipe, I thought I better get to know this creature a bit more. So vegetarians or those of you who are not fans of consuming 8-legged creatures, you can skip the recipe, but these octopus facts just might come in handy in a trivia ;-)

- A baby octopus when born is as big as a flea and is on an average 2-5 inches in length.
- It is a nocturnal creature.
- It has a soft body and an expert at camouflaging.
- It has 8 arms (ok, we all know that. But did you know that if it loses one arm, it can re-grow it!). AND although it has 8 arms, it tires easily in a struggle. This is because the oxygen carrying component in its blood called hemocyanin is copper based. It is therefore not very efficient in carrying oxygen through their systems.
- It has two eyes, one on each side of its head – it has very good eye sight but cannot hear.
- I admire the mother octopus – she goes into a dark cave and lays up to 1,00,000 eggs. She hangs up the entire bunch of eggs from the ceiling and keeps guard over them day and night and does not go out of her den. She starves herself and dies probably even before the eggs are hatched.
- The octopus has a very well developed brain. The baby octopus learns by itself (well, I guess that makes sense because their mom might be dead) and also from one another.
- It has three hearts.
- Octopuses are carnivorous creatures. Although octopuses have a hard row of teeth, they do not chew their food. They inject a toxin into the prey in order to paralyze it and soften their flesh.
- (I like this part) They bite the prey to kill it then take it to the den for a leisurely meal (I like leisurely meals too!).

Consumption:
In terms of consumption, all parts of the baby Octopus can be eaten except for the eyes, mouth area and the viscera. It can be eaten raw, deep fried, stewed, boiled and pickled. See here on how to "clean" the octopus.


"Cleaned" Raw Baby Octopus

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Thai-Style Grilled Baby Octopus

500g baby octopus, cleaned
1 tbpsn olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbspn Thai sweet chilli sauce
1 tbspn Fish sauce
1 tbspn light soy sauce
2 tbspn lime juice
2 tbspn fresh coriander, chopped

Preparation:
Toss the octopus through the marinade (except for coriander), cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours (if possible - this allows the flavours of the marinade to enter the flesh of the octopus and it also acts as a tenderiser). When you are ready to cook the octopus, toss in coriander. Sear the octopus on a very hot BBQ plate until just cooked.




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25 comments:

winedeb said...

What a great information post Nora! Since we are surrounded by water, these little guys are easy to come by here. So I must try this recipe! I cheat though and have the fish market clean mine for me. A nicely chilled Riesling would be awesome with this dish!
Cheers!

Anh said...

What a fantastic post! And a great recipe that sounds so excelelnt!

veron said...

Spiders also die after they lay their eggs I think. Interesting since they also have 8 legs. I love baby octopus. I always ask so expectantly in Japanese restaurats if they have them.

Susan said...

Three hearts and a developed brain? I'm surprised there isn't a superhero based on one. My husband would love this recipe, so thanks for the idea and the entertaining post!

Nigel said...

Delicious! Octopi have a clever habit of raiding lobster and crayfish pots (traps), adding an extra dimension to their idea of a 'leisurely meal'!

Eva said...

Well, I have to say you made it look good. But I just can't get myself to eat all these arms and tentacles...

Valli said...

You are a wealth of information Nora! So many interesting facts about octopii. The baby ones with their teeth wouldn't be very dangerous..but what about the Giant Octopus!!! Thanks for the dish!!! We do get octopii here in Canada even in the northern Pacific Ocean.

Lydia said...

So much good information here. I have to admit that I've never been able to eat octopus, except cooked and chopped up in takoyaki. But I do like learning more about it.

Janet said...

Fabulous! You are very adventurous!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

The boys ordered a baby octopus/octopi dish on holiday. It was delicious. I must read this to them tomorrow, they'll be fascinated (and jealous!) and probably request that I go and buy some.

KJ said...

Yaaay for barbecues. I'm so happy that summer is here again.

I'm not a seafood eater so I prefer seeing octopus happily swimming about. They certainly are amazing creatures. Apparently they are almost impossible to keep in a tank because they can climb out through the tiniest of cracks.

Kate said...

woa ...3 hearts !!! i never knew that ! now i do :D ! thats was really nice of your to do the little FYI . i love octopus, but dont make it often at home. Some things we just leave for enjoying outside :)
But with a fab recipe like yours i think this one too is gonna be a regular at home.

Wendy said...

Three hearts? That's just greedy! ;)
Adore baby octopus but haven't eaten them since I was in Japan. Wonder where I can get them here...

Belinda said...

Wow! How interesting, Nora...thank you for sharing these octopus details. I'm so glad you are in the mood to blog again. :-) I've never eaten octopus, and I certainly didn't know about the three hearts. How fascinating!

Aimée said...

Three hearts, that a lot of love. Thanks for the informative post!

Cynthia said...

This dish has my name written all over it! :)

Kelly-Jane said...

That's so interesting about the little creatures! 1.000.000 eggs!!

Big Boys Oven said...

Oh so lovely.... i love them....i wish i have 8 hands, than you can see me in baking action! lol!

katiez said...

I have to admit, terrified as I am of spiders I can not bring myself to eat baby octopus. And I had plenty of opportunity in Spain - they're everywhere, even gas station lunch counters!
But thanks for the informative post ;-) - and enjoy!

Margaret said...

Oh my goodness. I loved reading this posting but can't eat an octopus. Anyway, where I live we just don't have them!!

Rosa said...

Thanks so much for all this information! Octopus is easy to come by here and now I have no excuse... but I might just ask the fishmonger to clean it for me anyway!

Nora B. said...

Hi Everyone, thanks for your all your comments. I feel a bit guilty for not saying this sooner - I did not clean the octopus myself, it was done by the fishmonger.

If you are cooking octopus for the first time, remember to marinade it overnight or else you might end up with rubbery chewing gum. ;-)

tigerfish said...

Grilled octopus! Love the that "crunch" texture in that.

Brilynn said...

I love the random trivia... octopus isn't something I normally eat, but if you made it for me I would.

mycookinghut said...

I love octopus!