Does cooking octopus in salt or pastry crust produce juicy octopus


I've been reading up on octopus preparation and the different methods used to tenderise the meat. Rustic recipes call for a good beating against a rock until soapy, others talk of a long boil or braise. Papaya has been mentioned as has a pre-cook freeze. Sous vide is obviously a popular one (times and temperatures vary).

Before I put my experimenting hat on, I wondered if anyone has tried a salt-crust bake or a pastry crust? I feel the juices would be kept in, the temperature would be consistent but I am worried about the salt content.

Best Answer

ok, so octopus either needs to be cooked for a very short amount of time (just until it's barely cooked through) to keep the muscle tissue tender or for a very long amount of time (2 hrs plus) to break down the connective tissue. The tenderization methods that involve beating it against a rock or whatever are usually for short-cook methods like grilling from raw.

So if you're baking it in a salt crust or pastry crust, that wouldn't be particularly conducive to short-cook methods... it's going to need to be cooked for at least two hours. The main problem I see with cooking octopus using this method is that octopus gives off a TON of liquid when slow cooking, and it would a) dissove enough salt to make it inedibly salty, b) dissolve the salt crust completely leaving you with a salty mess, or c) both. With a pastry crust, you wouldn't have to worry about the octopus being salty, but you would have to worry about the crust becoming a juice-soaked sloppy mess.

Frankly, I'd just give up on the salt crust. You might be able to fashion a crust using salt and egg whites which would stick together, but I really do think it would be inedibly salty.

If you pre-slow-cooked the octopus and made a gravy out of the cooking liquid, you could definitely get in into a pastry crust. That seems like it's more work than what you're looking for though. Good luck!