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Critique Octopus for supper tonight

Discussion in 'Miscellany' started by Mike Buckley, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. I always enjoy photographing food in a context that we don't normally experience or at least don't notice. I'm reasonably certain that I've never seen back lit octopus tentacles. :D 

    Mike 2017-11-11--002-S.jpg
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  2. And your going to eat it??? You have chronicled your meal well.
  3. That depends on how it turns out. I love octopus but I've never cooked it myself. I've got plenty of food planned as side dishes just in case the octopus is a failure.
  4. The octopus was wonderful to eat and lots of fun to cook! Now I need to find a delectable sauce, which would make it possible for me to serve it in a second distinctive style. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
  5. Looks like something unworldly. Well done.
  6. Really lovely Mike.
    Sure it tasted as good as it looks.

    Lighting info please?
  7. Thanks, Dayo!


    A thin piece of glass (though it could have been any rigid material) was suspended above the tabletop. Tentacles were draped over the edge of the glass. The background is black foam core and the tabletop is black velvet. A small continuous-light lamp on the left and right sides were behind the subjects and pointing toward their center to generate relatively even back lighting throughout the scene. Each lamp was flagged with black matte aluminum foil to prevent light from falling on the background. Two flags made of black foam core were hanging from the front left and right corners of the piece of glass to eliminate flare.

    Now that I have had several requests for my setup information, in the future I will provide it at the outset when posting tabletop photography. That process is more convenient for me and for interested viewers than posting it later upon request. Those who don't enjoy reading it can easily skip it.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  8. The photography is excellent, as always Mike, and it is certainly a different way to present octopus as a meal. This time though, I'd have to say I would probably have found it more appetising cooked and on the plate. Sorry. I do like octopus though!
  9. Glad to hear that you will provide the set up info for your images in the beginning of the threads Mike. I like the image very much. I would also like to see it grilled and sitting on a plate , that would be the conventional but appetizing way :) 
  10. Thank you to warth man and Binnur!

    I plan to be doing more traditional food photography in the future and cooked octopus is most definitely on my list. When I post a photo (it may be awhile), I'll also provide my recipe. If you're interested in the recipe sooner than having to wait a month or so, just ask.
  11. Well.If it is going to take a while to see the image , I would prefer to have the recipe now as I live by the sea and it is easy to get octopus to cook.
  12. Octopus with paprika and lemon juice
    Serves 2

    2 lbs raw octopus

    Group 1
    ½ bottle dry red wine
    large splash of olive oil
    2 tspn garlic, pressed
    1 cup onions coarsely chopped
    1 cup carrots coarsely chopped
    Optional: 4 wine corks (Apparently Italians use the wine corks because they supposedly help keep the meat tender, though I couldn't find any scientific evidence that it works. I'm a wine buff, so I can't resist the fun of using the corks. It's not a problem for me that the corks can't be reused, as I always have plenty of them waiting to be recycled.)

    Group 2
    2 tspn smoked paprika (you can't use too much)
    Small splash of olive oil to taste
    1 tspn Sriracha sauce (more or less to taste)
    Lemon juice to taste
    Cilantro, torn for garnish (it doesn't need to be chopped)

    Initial Preparation
    Cut the head off the octopus close to the top of the tentacles. Remove the insides of the head. Insert your finger through the opening in the body at the top of the tentacles to push out the beak on the opposite side. Pull out the mouth in the same area. Discard the beak, mouth and insides of the head.

    Chop the onions and carrots. Press the garlic.

    Add the Group 1 ingredients to a large saucepan, mix and bring the liquid to a slight boil. Add the octopus heads and tentacles to the saucepan. Cover the pan with a clear top, turn the heat to low and keep the liquid at a slight simmer for 30 minutes.

    Remove some octopus. (Using a pasta ladle is ideal.) Check the octopus by running a piece under cold water and eating it. If it isn't yet done, check about every 15 minutes until it's done. (The octopus was perfectly done and tender after 45 minutes the only time I cooked it.)

    If you're in a hurry, cool the octopus in the sink under running water just enough so that you can hold it in your fingers. (Using the pasta ladle is again ideal.) Cut or pull the tentacles from the body. Remove the skin by hand from the tentacles. (Don't bother trying to remove it from the suction cups.) Remove the skin from the inside and outside of the heads. NOTE: I've since read that some people prefer not removing the skin.

    Add the Group 2 ingredients to a mixing bowl large enough to hold the cooked octopus and mix. Add the octopus and mix again.

    Heat a cast iron grill pan over the largest burner on high heat until it becomes extremely hot. Add the octopus and cook each side about one minute if it is still hot, about two minutes if it has been cooked earlier in the day. Optionally place a baking dish on top of the octopus so the extra weight produces a stronger charred flavor.

    Place the octopus on the serving dishes. Finish with the cilantro and lemon juice.

    Red wine: Pinot Noir, Barbera or Shiraz
    White wine, especially in summer: Pinot Gris or Albarino (especially if you used a lot of Sriracha sauce)
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  13. It sounds delicious. We have grilled octopus in the restaurants here but it is usually grilled in a simpler way. I will certainly try your recipe as soon as I buy some octopus. Thanks for sharing :) 
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