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Poached Octopus Recipe-2086

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 3


The poaching liquid is more than sufficient for up to ten baby octopus, so use whatever amount of octopus is called for in the recipe.


  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • Whole or baby octopus, cleaned


1. Combine 1 gallon water and the vinegar in a large stockpot over high heat. Cut the lemon in half crosswise and squeeze each half into the water mixture, adding each squeezed half to the water. Add the peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Using tongs or wearing thick rubber gloves and holding the octopus by the head, dunk the octopus body into the simmering water 3 times, leaving it submerged for about 5 seconds each time. This is called “scaring” the octopus, because the tentacles will curl up as you plunge the octopus into the water.

3. Drop the octopus into the simmering water after the final dunking and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the heat, drain well, and set aside to cool. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

© 2006 James T. Botsacos Jr.

Note from Cookstr's Editors

Nutritional information is based on 8 servings, and using a 1 1/2 lb whole octopus.


Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

70kcal (4%)
45mg (5%)
4mg (7%)
38mcg RAE (1%)
41mg (14%)
486mg (20%)
0g (1%)
1g (1%)
5mg (25%)

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  • ChiekoThompson

    11.02.15 Flag comment


  • ChiekoThompson

    11.02.15 Flag comment

    "Scaring" octopus is not necessary. The tentacles will curl on their own as soon as they hit the hot liquid. I did 10 baby octopus in a little less than a quart of water and that was a bit too much liquid. Octopus shrinks considerably when cooked. A very large octopus took over 2 hours to cook on the stove but only 40 minutes in a pressure cooker. For serving, I would suggest 10 small octopus per person. It's always better to have to much than not enough plus there are lots of tasty things to make with leftover octopus!

  • ChiekoThompson

    11.02.15 Flag comment

    Don't discard the liquid after poaching! It'll contain a lot of collagen and be a perfect base for a seafood soup or stew! It can be frozen and keeps well in the fridge. It can also be canned. There's enough vinegar and salt so it's safe.


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