Cooking sous vide octopus at home might sound a bit intimidating, but with help from our #anovafoodnerd family, it can be quite simple to nail this seemingly formidable yet impressive dish. Since octopi are invertebrates, they develop super strong connective tissue throughout their muscles. Thus, cooking these tough little suckers to tenderness can be, well, tough. Consequently, you may find yourself chewing and tearing at a tentacled, rubbery result without the right method to break down that stubborn connective tissue. That's where sous vide comes in.
Learn how to serve up tender, brightly-colored sous vide octopus with ease from#anovafoodnerd @chefdecambuse
, aka Frank Scholz. He's one of our favorite food nerds and was kind enough to share his secret recipe for "Smoke on the Water" Sous Vide Octopus. More on that shortly, but first...
Meet #anovafoodnerd Frank Scholz, aka @chefdecambuse
Frank and his family live in a small city in southern Germany. He's a software developer by day, and an ambitious home cook by night with a blog full of his culinary creations
–he’s even a member of the Confrérie Culinaire in Germany.
After discovering sous vide from some pro chefs a few years ago, Frank got himself an Anova One and started precision cooking anything and everything. His home kitchen now boasts more than three Precision Cookers, along with his Anova One, which he still uses regularly. Needless to say, Frank is a serious #anovafoodnerd, and we love nerding out over his new dishes.
Check out Frank's story for all the details on making this gorgeous deep purple dish of “Smoke on the Water” Sous Vide Octopus
Cooking Sous Vide Octopus with Frank Scholz
I started cooking sous vide octopus with my Anova because I get perfect control over the cooking process and a perfect, 100% tender result, without having to supervise the cooking. It is a set-it-and-forget situation. I also marinate the octopus for a colorful result and before I started cooking it sous vide, it would lose its color after cooking it 60-90 in simmering water. With sous vide, the marinated color of the octopus doesn’t get "bleached" out and you won't lose any aroma that you have applied during the marinating process.
Over the past several months, I’ve cooked sous vide octopus for multiple special occasions–the first time for guests as part of a Christmas dinner menu. I marinated it with red cabbage juice to get a deep purple coloring, cooked it in a water bath with the Anova, then finished with a handheld smoker. I get a lot of questions about this dish, which I like to call “Smoke on the Water” Sous Vide Octopus, and I have since recreated it for a party of 14 with great success. For Valentine’s Day, I cooked sous vide octopus for my wife and switched the red cabbage with beetroot, which is how I got the vibrant pink color in first photo.
Deep Purple: "Smoke on the Water" Sous Vide Octopus
To get a bright purple coloring, I extracted the juice from half of a red cabbage head–I actually had to create a red cabbage smoothie, as my juicer decided to die two days before Christmas. After cleaning the octopus, I pat it dry and combined it with the red cabbage juice/smoothie in a sealable, airtight container. I stored it in the fridge for 24 hours to marinate for color, flavor and aroma before cooking it.
The next day, I cleaned it once more under cold, running water and pat it dry before bagging it up with a double-zip-lock bag and sealing it with the water displacement method (you don’t need special vacuum sealed bags).
I added olive oil, rosemary, thyme and sea salt to the bag (I used smoked sea salt to intensify the smoky flavor) then I cooked it with my Anova at 75°C/167°F for 8-9 hours. Note: It’s fine to cook it up to 10 hours, especially if there are some timing issues with your dinner guests. For a guest who is particularly late, I would remove it from the bag, then seal it again with some olive oil and keep it warm at a lower holding temperature.
Finishing Sous Vide Octopus to Octoperfection
When the octopus finished cooking, I discarded the liquid and gently rubbed away the loose skin parts, taking care not to tear off the suckers.
Next, I separated the arms from each other and pat them dry, then put them in a hot skillet for a few seconds with oil to create a crispy surface to finish.
You can do this on the grill, or with a torch, too. However you prefer to finish it.
Plating "Smoke on the Water" with a Smoky Finish
I was plating it for guests for a special occasion, so I arranged one arm on each plate together with a pan-seared scallop and caviar, a fried greenshell mussel, a dollop of swede espuma, and some greens. For aesthetic reasons, I added some dried algae with soy sauce. For the smoky part of my “Smoke on the Water” dish, I used a handheld smoker with beech for a bit of a show. I served the dish with the smoke still under the glass dome, then released it at the table for some good “Ooh’s” and “Ahh’s” from my dinner guests.
Full details for Frank’s “Smoke on the Water” Sous Vide Octopus–from ingredients and marinating alternatives, to step-by-step directions–are available in the Anova web and mobile recipe apps.