We usually get sashimi items from Catalina Offshore products but with the New Year fast approaching, they did not seem to have fresh tuna (especially fatty bluefin tuna) available despite many times I checked their web site. So, I decided to try a new vender called “Fish for Sushi”*. They sell only frozen fish but unlike many of the frozen yellow fin tuna which I have used in dishes posted before, their tuna (either bigeye or yellowfin) is said to be “super-frozen” and not treated with “odorless smoke” (euphemism for carbon mono-oxide gas to make it look more red). For the New Year, I ordered frozen bigeye tuna, kampachi (subjects for later posts) and boiled octopus. We usually get one small octopus leg at a time especially for the holidays but they only had a 2 lb boiled then frozen whole octopus. The price differential between the single leg we usually get and the whole octopus with 7 additional legs plus a body made the purchase seem more than reasonable i.e. the whole animal was relatively cheap compared to the single leg.
*The actual frozen items came from “Uoriki Fresh” located in New Jersey. This place appears to be the wholesaler for the “Fish for Sushi” retail site—or so we assume.
A whole, 2 lb octopus, however, is a lot of octopus, (the usual lamb roast that we buy is only about 3 pounds). So in addition to the portions being used for the New Year’s dishes, we had a lot of octopus-eating to do. I had to come up with a number of different dishes in a race against time to finish it up before it went bad. The first day we received it, I made my usual octopus dressed in “karashi-sumiso” as seen below.
I added chopped scallion and thinly julienned daikon.
Another variation I served on a different day was dressed with yuzu-koshou, olive oil and soy sauce. This was rather good with some heat, yuzu citrus flavor.
This is how the whole boiled octopus looked. I defrosted it in the refrigerator for 2 days and washed it under the running cold water.
I separated the legs (eight of them, just in case you did not know “Octo” is 8).
One leg was sliced and then placed in sweet vinegar to make “Sudako” which I used to accompany my daikon “namasu” 大根なます for the New Year (below).
Rejuvination process: The octopus tasted good and fresh but the 3rd day after I thawed it, I re-boiled it to remove any off flavors and to make it last longer. I boiled enough water so that 2-3 legs could be submerged easily with a dash of sake and a small amount of salt. I also prepared a large bowl with ice and cold water next to it. I first placed the 2-3 legs at a time into rapidly boiling water for 5 seconds and then immediately plunged them into the ice water to cool. I repeated this process for all the legs and the head. After they were thoroughly iced down, I removed them from the ice water and patted dry with a paper towel. I wrapped them in a new paper towel and placed them in a Ziploc bag. I refrigerated the pieces in the meat drawer of the refrigerator (lowest temperature place in our refrigerator). With this treatment, I expected the octopus to last at least another week. After tasting it again I think that although it was very good and fresh, after the parboiling, it tasted even better. I made more dishes from this fellow and they will be the subject of separate posts.