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Cooked Octopus: All the Secrets plus the Best Recipes

El Rey del Pulpo > Blog > Cooked Octopus: All the Secrets plus the Best Recipes
Pulpo Cocido

The sea offers a veritable bounty of food: fish, mollusks, crustaceans etc. Octopus is one of the most commonly eaten and in certain parts of Spain, it practically has a cult following. This is a trend that is spreading across the globe. Do you want to know why? 

This cephalopod with eight tentacles boasts an impressive nutritional profile. What’s more, it’s readily available in supermarkets in several formats. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about precooked octopus and all its versions, from frozen to chilled.

OCTOPUS: A VERSATILE ANIMAL IN ALL SENSES

The octopus is a cephalopod mollusk with a soft body. It can change shape to blend into any surroundings and the color of its skin also depends on its state. It eats any food, although it normally prefers crustaceans and bivalve mollusks (clams, mussels, etc.). This is the reason why the firmness of its meat and its nutrients vary upon consumption.

1. RECOMMENDED PRODUCT FORMATS: FROZEN AND CHILLED

Aside from precooking it, there are other preservation techniques for this animal. Both frozen and chilled octopus have a series of characteristics that you should be familiar with before buying them, so you can bring home the option that best suits you.

Freezing is the simplest and most long-lasting way to preserve octopus. Buying frozen octopus means you can keep it for quite some time. This process ensures that it does not lose any of its qualities and keeps it free from harmful organisms, as freezing kills off most germs and bacteria. What’s more, it will degrade more slowly. This involves a prior process of flash freezing that ensures that it stays as fresh as the day it was caught.

It will also retain its freshness. You can keep it for long periods of time without having to worry about it losing any nutrients, and you can eat it whenever you want. Likewise, it will hardly take up any space thanks to this method of preserving food.

 

Chilled octopus is stored at temperatures higher than those of frozen octopus, which is why it keeps for a shorter period of time. The good thing about it is that there is a wide variety of formats available—including ready-to-eat—, and its greatest advantage is that you don’t have to wait until it thaws to try it.

It remains an affordable and practical alternative that keeps all the properties of octopus intact. What’s more, barely any additives are added to preserve it. In the case of el Rey del Pulpo octopus, it undergoes a pasteurization process, which is the main reason why it keeps up to 3 months in the refrigerator. This process is mainly responsible for the gelatinous layer that forms around the product. 

In a nutshell, the main differences between freezing and chilling are the temperature, how long it keeps and the ease of preparing octopus once it’s time to use it.

Whichever you choose, make every effort to ensure that it’s a quality product: To this end, it must be made of premium-quality ingredients and the cold chain must not be broken. Also make sure that you’re paying for the net weight or the drained weight of the product, as this is the actual weight of the product without fillers or the water that its packaging may contain. This way, you’ll avoid paying more for less.

2. BENEFITS OF BUYING PRECOOKED OCTOPUS

Like with other cooked foods, one of the main benefits you’ll get is that cooking contributes towards eliminating any potentially harmful bacteria or microorganisms.

Together with this, octopus can significantly decrease in size during cooking as it’s comprised of a large amount of water, which evaporates. Buying it precooked ensures that it has been cooked by professionals who have taken the greatest care throughout all steps of the process so that it’s done to perfection, keeping weight and volume losses to a minimum.

Among the main advantages of buying precooked octopus are:

Saving time

The product is ready to use so you don’t have to lose any time in cooking it to the right level of doneness. You only have to open the packaging, heat the octopus and eat it.

Keeping all its properties intact

Precooked octopus is just as healthy as raw octopus and comes highly recommended.

How to store precooked octopus

Once cooked, octopus can be stored in several ways, depending on when you plan to eat it. If you’ve cooked it at home and you’re thinking of eating it soon, we recommend storing it in the refrigerator and eating it as soon as possible. Another option is freezing it so that it keeps for much longer.
If you’ve bought precooked octopus, the best thing to do is to follow the storage instructions found on the packaging itself. For el Rey del Pulpo precooked octopus, if you buy it frozen, it can be stored for up to two years at -18 ºC/-10.4 ºF and if you buy it refrigerated, thanks to the pasteurization process it undergoes, it can be stored for up to 3 months in the refrigerator at a temperature between 0 ºC/32 ºF and 4 ºC/39.20 ºF. Once you’ve opened the package, you must use it within 24 hours.

3. PRECOOKED OCTOPUS: NUTRITIONAL PROFILE

If there’s something really great about octopus meat, it’s its mineral content. Iodine is among the most plentiful and it’s very necessary for the proper functioning of the body, bone formation, hormone production, as well as growth, the transmission of nerve impulses and mental agility. You’ll get this essential mineral thanks to octopus.

Octopus is also rich in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. These contribute towards keeping the body’s natural defenses in good shape and help in the development of the reproductive organs in young people.

In terms of vitamins, octopus contains the following: A, E, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and strengthens the immune system, so it works in synergy with zinc. The B-group vitamins are very delicate as they are water soluble, which means that they dissolve in the presence of liquid and are excreted out of the body through urine.

Valores nutricionales del pulpo cocido

There are a total of eight B vitamins and you’ll find six of them in octopus meat. One great thing in their favor is that they’re involved in cell metabolism. For example, Vitamin B12 is essential for the brain and the nervous system to function properly.

Lastly, this is one of the mollusks with the lowest amounts of cholesterol and once cooked, it only contains 86 kcal/100 g. 

4. HOW TO PREPARE OCTOPUS

preparar pulpo cocido

If you buy fresh octopus, don’t forget to rinse it under cold running water and then twist its head to get the ink out. Don’t remove the skin because it’s very nutritious.

If you buy frozen or chilled octopus, it’s already clean, so you only have to prepare it at home. If instead of raw, you buy it already precooked, it will be ready to eat or ready to use in your recipes. This is a great option if you’re not quite sure how to prepare it, as it’s very important to cook it to perfection, and getting it right can be complicated if you don’t have a lot of experience.

5. THE BEST RECIPES USING PRECOOKED OCTOPUS

Octopus is one of the most versatile ingredients on the market. It has a unique flavor and goes well with a wide variety of foods, making it possible to create unique recipes or highly original takes on the most traditional recipes.

Nowadays, octopus is no longer a dish reserved for special occasions and is part of the everyday diet of thousands of people mainly due to its attractive nutritional profile, its low amount of calories and fat, and its incredibly delicious taste.

In our recipe section, you can find dishes to suit every taste, occasion and the amount of time you have available. Here’s a peek: 

Recetas de pulpo cocido

Galician-style octopus

Cook octopus with some potatoes with the skin on, which will make them more flavorful! Serve octopus and potatoes on a wooden dish and season with salt, olive oil, sweet or hot paprika, according to taste.

A more delicate version of Galician-style octopus

Use mashed potatoes instead of boiled potatoes. Bake or grill the octopus.

Soupy rice with octopus and mussels

The perfect dish for diehard rice eaters, particularly paella marinara.

Octopus and potato salad

The firm texture of precooked octopus and the soft texture of the potatoes are a match made in heaven. You can also combine it with cold rice, pesto sauce, apple or parsley. The healthy combinations are endless!

Octopus ceviche

This dish is a great ally for cardiovascular health, as it’s fresh and nutritious. Healthy and low in calories—if you keep the oil in check.

Grilled  or baked octopus

It can be accompanied with many dishes or simply enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon. You can take advantage of the grill to add some vegetables such as peppers, potatoes or zucchini.

Octopus stews

For example, red wine-braised octopus, accompanied with boiled or baked potatoes. In this category, you can find one of the most well-known traditional octopus recipes.

Octopus with pasta

A heavenly combination that’s also beneficial for health. There’s an amazing variety out there you can try. We recommend the marinara pasta with octopus and mussels or the delicious lasagna.

Octopus pizza

You can prepare it using homemade pizza dough, olive oil, sliced tomatoes, octopus, Tetilla cheese, oregano, La Vera paprika, etc.

Octopus with caramelized onions

A haute cuisine dish that’s actually quite easy to prepare. A unique balance of flavors that brings together the incredible taste of octopus and the taste of potato, pepper, bacon and the distinctive touch of caramelized onions.

Octopus chutney

A delicious blend of fried onions, arugula, apple and olive oil.

 

DON'T THINK TWICE, GO AND GIVE THEM A TRY!

Octopus is so versatile that you simply have to give it a try, particularly due to its nutritional properties. Experiment with your cooking, discover your favorite recipe and share it with whoever you like. You’ll have a good time while looking after your health.

FAQ

WHY IS BUYING PRECOOKED OCTOPUS A SAFE BET?

You’ll be able to save yourself the trouble of cooking it yourself, which is actually quite complex. The octopus comes precooked by professionals, so it will always be cooked to perfection.

DOES PRECOOKED OCTOPUS HAVE LESS NUTRIENTS?

Not by a long shot. Precooked octopus comes with all its vitamins, minerals and properties intact.

IS PRECOOKED OCTOPUS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN FRESH OCTOPUS?

When you buy a package of el Rey del Pulpo precooked octopus, you’re paying for its drained weight, without any water or innards. You’re also saving on the loss of weight and volume during cooking. So, buying precooked octopus can actually turn out cheaper than buying it fresh.

IS IT ADVISABLE TO BUY PRECOOKED OCTOPUS?

Bear in mind that cooking eliminates any harmful bacteria or microorganisms, which means that food safety is more than assured.

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