The Octopus Cometh


Ever considered becoming a testicular surgeon? Buy and gut an octopus – it’s a wincingly close substitute, I reckon.

After much procrastination – I faced my fears, defrosted that slippery little fucker sucker (see earlier) and wrestled it into a sauté pan. In the interests of being frank, I report that I whimpered and retched pretty much the whole time.

On Rick Stein’s advice, I turned it inside out (gag), pulled out the innards (horror), rinsed it all over, removed the beak (please, make it stop) and was left holding something akin to a discarded scrotal sack.Image

I chopped the head into rings, crying out when I realised I’d sliced through an eye. Then I separated the tentacles – use a seriously sharp knife or you’ll be hacking fruitlessly all day.

And from here on, I improvised, because no recipe I found catered for the bland and bizarre mix that constitutes my son’s dietary delectations.

I fried the octopus in garlic oil, lengthily and gently, so it didn’t burn or stick – tentacle-encrusted cookware is not a good look.

I added spring onions, some broccoli (doesn’t he ever get sick of it?), some fish stock (a cube, natch) and a few noodles. I then simmered ‘til cooked.


I needn’t have worried he might reject the eight-limbed sea monster – Ted was stealing hot tentacle before I could plate up. “Delicious. So delicious,” he repeated many times.

After slurping up tentacles, rings of octopus head and spoons of fish stock, he gnawed on a token bit of broccoli, semi-begrudgingly ate some noodles and told me he, “never wanted spring onions in this recipe again.”

Point taken: I must add even fewer complementary flavours next time.

Now, surely I’ve earned serving up at least one meal of beans-on-toast for all that effort..?