Baby octopus are not something I usually buy, so when I saw boxes of baby octopus on sale at T&T, it was like the Grilled Octopus Salad was meant to be. I’ve talked about not trusting T&T’s live seafood before, but frozen is frozen, and Chang even specifies that frozen baby octopus are fine in this salad.
What isn’t fine are the octopus themselves, frozen or not. I never knew I had a problem with octopus until I had to cook it. I’ve eaten and enjoyed octopus lots of times before, but I’ve never looked at it raw, except behind glass at various aquariums.
Octopus are disgusting. Their heads, their weird, shiny, mottled skin, their suckers. Brr. They make me shiver in disgust. I thought cooking them would make them more appealing, but it didn’t.
The octopus were braised whole in soy sauce, mirin, sake, and rice wine vinegar for 2 hours. After they were done, their mottled skin turned an unappetizing shade of purple, so instead of keeping them whole, I cut the tentacles off, removed their suckers and sliced up their heads.
After dismembering the octopus to make them look like delicious, harmless tentacles, I was ready to grill. The charred octopus was tender and super-umami packed from the 2 hour braise in soy sauce.
The varying crunchiness of the bamboo shoots and konbu were perfect with the slightly chewy octopus. The spicy, sour-sweet octo vinaigrette lightly dressed each slippery strand, packing this salad full of flavour. Now this is my kind of salad!
Note: Do not look at octopus photos on the internet. I thought baby octopus were bad, but the giant, larger than me ones are ten times worse. I couldn’t close my browser fast enough; I had to run away from my laptop and have Mike get rid of the octopus for me. He was nice enough to pull up some bunny pictures to calm my beating heart. I think I’ve created a phobia. Is it possible to find something delicious and be terrified of it at the same time?