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David Ross

Cook-Off 62: Squid, Calamari and Octopus

150 posts in this topic

Dried squid (and dried cuttlefish) are also common ingredients in some forms of Chinese cooking and have been for a long time. (Dried octopus probably not as much, I think...)

I've described my use of dried cuttlefish in a couple of soups and my prep of a "fresh" (thawed from frozen) cuttlefish "curry"/spicy dish elsewhere in this forum. (I mentioned earlier the omission of cuttlefish (seppia) from the stated ingredients for this thread but there does not seem to be much interest in it)

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mine is no chewy at all, would ruin my teeth! ;-)

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I started the prep for my next octopus dish--a Thai Green Curry with Octopus and Eggplant. I simmered the octopus in the same manner as my first dish--cooked for 50 minutes in simmering water with red wine vinegar. I'll let it chill overnight and make the sauce tommorrow.

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I'm feeling pretty confident now in my ability to cook baby octopus in soups, stews and sauces. The key for insuring the octopus is tender is to start with the slow simmer in water/vinegar bath. I prefer octopus over calamari in these braised dishes because of it's stronger and meatier texture. For my latest dish, I started with an old standby recipe for a Thai Red Curry Sauce. I substituted green curry paste for the red and added some minced lemongrass for more punch in flavor.

The curry starts with garlic and ginger sauteed in vegetable and toasted sesame oils. Then a small chopped shallot goes into the pan, followed by sliced mushrooms, 1 can of coconut milk, 2-3 tbsp. of green curry paste, soy sauce, lime juice and zest, diced eggplant and the baby octopus. The stew is cooked for about 30 minutes, then just before service I added some chopped fresh mint, basil and cilantro-

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This is the minced lemongrass. I buy it frozen in a large, flat plastic bag. When I first used it I thought the freezing process would have diluted the flavor but it's nearly as fragrant and flavorful as fresh lemongrass and far easier to use-

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The baby octopus, simmered for an hour in water diluted with vinegar, (and 2 wine corks)-

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Served with steamed white rice-

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Braised Octopus in Thai Green Curry Sauce-

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A good dish, (the sauce could have been thicker and needed more heat)--almost as good as the Baby Squid in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Pasta. We're into halibut season here in the Pacific Northwest, so I'm thinking the baby octopus would be delicious with halibut and crab in a cioppino.

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wow, it looks so delicious! I love green curry but never had octopus with it. Actually I never cooked octopus before :laugh:


Life is beautiful.

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wow, looks great, try to get the baby-baby ones, no need to pre-cook them!

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The baby baby ones are delicious in the Vietnamese dish Ca Kho or Catfish in Caramel fish sauce. They take as long as the fish to get tender - about an hour, and add another textural element to the dish.

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Boy is that delicious looking. Have you got a specific recipe you use?

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It's actually ridiculously simple once you know how to do the caramel. Heat a tablespoon of oil and start to caramelise 150g of sugar in it. Use a light pan so you can see the colour of it. You're looking for a deep mahogany colour. Too light and the flavour is a bit one dimensional. Too dark and it's burnt and acrid. Once that's ready add 70mL of fish sauce mixed with 50 mL of water. It will bubble madly and spit so be careful. That's your caramel fish sauce made. You can adjust it to taste with extra fish sauce and sugar.

To make the dish, fry off some garlic and spring onion in a tight fitting pot. Add your catfish and octopus cover with the caramel fish sauce and simmer for an hour. Add slice chilli if you wish. At the end garnish with fresh coriander and stir in a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.

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Squid stew with tomatoes and red wine

2013-06-23%2018.33.49%20%28Medium%29.jpg

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Squid stew with tomatoes and red wine

Looks like it has a lot of deep flavors. Tell us a bit more about how you prepared your dish.

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Ingredients for 4-5 portions:

- 6 tomatoes

- 1,2 kg squid

- 1 paprika

- 6 cloves garlic

- 2 bay leaves

- 2-3 onions

- basil

- chives

- paprika powder

- thyme

- rosemary

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Chopping up the poor squids in bite-size pieces

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I sauteed the onions for about 5 minutes, then added the garlic and squid.

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After about 5 minutes I added half a bottle of red wine and paprika powder

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After vaporizing the alcohol for about 5 minutes, I added the tomatoes and paprika

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Halfway through:

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After stewing for about 1,5 hours on medium/low heat:

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Finished with chives and basil and slightly thickened with starch

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Really proud of the result. Certainly one of the best dishes I produced this year. The squid was amazingly tender and the dish was rich of flavour. Red wine and squid are an amazing combination.


Edited by Wapi (log)
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does that look good. and cooked outside ! :biggrin:

outside cooking is almost always better.

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Cooked some nice octopus dishes lately and it reminded me of this cook-off. So better late than never, here's some more ideas!

I tend to cook octopus in the pressure cooker first for 15 minutes. Depending on the final flavour of the dish i will add some aromatics in too but no additional liquid. There's plenty of liquid that comes out during the short cook in the the PC. This first dish had olive oil, salt, whole cloves of garlic and bay leaves in the pressure cooker. After 15 minutes the octopus is removed and left to cool. It's finished over charcoal with a smattering of cumin. Served with over smoky aubergine and a chargrilled sweetcorn salad. There was a saffron pilaf with this meal.

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The second was a Dong Po style octopus.

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The third is octopus carpaccio. I cook the octopus for a little longer in the PC with a splash of red wine. When it's cooked the octopus is removed and the liquor reduced a little, near the end some agar agar is added. The octopus is cut into tentacles, put into freezer bags with a little of the reduced liquor and formed into large balls. The octopus will naturally glue together when chilled but the addition of agar agar helps it along. When it's chilled it can be sliced finely and garnished with whatever you llike. This one had candied lemon peel, parsley and esplette pepper:

IMAGE_072413FC-6231-4B80-A135-CA734ECFDC

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Ingredients: Fresh squid, garlic, bird's eye chilli, sweet peas in the pod (snow peas / sugar snap peas etc are equally acceptable), soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, Chinese chives, salt.

In my efforts to learn Chinese cooking I'd like to try this dish as it sounds & looks great and because I love calamari/squid.

But, I seriously doubt if I can get birds eye chilli here in France. Any suggestions for a substitute? I can get jars of chillies that look very similar & are fairly hot, but they're just labelled 'piments' (peppers) on the jar. They're reasonably hot, but I'm wondering how crucial the 'hotness' is to the dish.

Doing a search turns up various alternative chillies, none of which I can easily obtain.

Any advice?

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Thanks, I'll check again, but our local supermarkets seem to be very light on fresh peppers.

Probably because out here in the hinterlands they're pretty conservative food wise.

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In my efforts to learn Chinese cooking I'd like to try this dish as it sounds & looks great and because I love calamari/squid.

But, I seriously doubt if I can get birds eye chilli here in France. Any suggestions for a substitute? I can get jars of chillies that look very similar & are fairly hot, but they're just labelled 'piments' (peppers) on the jar. They're reasonably hot, but I'm wondering how crucial the 'hotness' is to the dish.

Any chilli would probably be OK. Some 'hotness' is desirable, but obviously the level is up to you. I've had it served everywhere from mild to searingly hot.

Are the jarred peppers pickled, though? That would dramatically alter the flavour. I wouldn't use pickled peppers in this dish.

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In my efforts to learn Chinese cooking I'd like to try this dish as it sounds & looks great and because I love calamari/squid.

But, I seriously doubt if I can get birds eye chilli here in France. Any suggestions for a substitute? I can get jars of chillies that look very similar & are fairly hot, but they're just labelled 'piments' (peppers) on the jar. They're reasonably hot, but I'm wondering how crucial the 'hotness' is to the dish.

Any chilli would probably be OK. Some 'hotness' is desirable, but obviously the level is up to you. I've had it served everywhere from mild to searingly hot.

Are the jarred peppers pickled, though? That would dramatically alter the flavour. I wouldn't use pickled peppers in this dish.

Thanks for the tips. They are in vinegar and your point is a good one. I know one guy at Caussade market who just might have fresh hot peppers. I'll go on Monday & see.

​BTW I use the jarred ones in my guacamole.

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They are in vinegar and your point is a good one.

I should point out that pickled chilli peppers are widely used in Chinese cuisine, especially in Sichuan and Hunan. I just meant they would radically alter the flavour of this dish. Whether that is god or bad, I don't know.

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They are in vinegar and your point is a good one.

I should point out that pickled chilli peppers are widely used in Chinese cuisine, especially in Sichuan and Hunan. I just meant they would radically alter the flavour of this dish. Whether that is god or bad, I don't know.

Ok, thanks again. I'll try to find some fresh chilli peppers at market, failing that I'll try with my pickled ones and see how that works.

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