How to Cook Fresh Baby Octopus & Squid

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In the continuing hunt for sustainable seafood, finding a reliable replacement for old staples like shellfish can be hard. Smaller squid such as calamari and baby octopus are safe, farm-fresh alternatives that can be served in a variety of flavorful ways. Baked, roasted, panfried or deep-fried, they have found a place in dozens of cuisines worldwide.

Things You'll Need

  • Calamari or baby octopus, 2 pounds
  • Cranberry beans, 1 pound
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Orange zest
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Colander
  • Paper towels
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cooking pot
  • Frying pan

Beans and Salsa

  • Shell your beans into a bowl, and rinse them twice under tepid water. On the third fill-up, use cold water and let the beans soak for six hours before cooking them. Transfer the beans and water to a cooking pot.

  • Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Taste the beans every 10 minutes until they are done, looking for a slightly waxy texture that just starts to fall apart on the first bite -- anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the power of your stove.

  • Use this time to make your salsa, consisting of two parts cilantro and parsley to one part oil. Season to taste.

Roasting Calamari or Baby Octopus

  • Get a pan scorching hot and leave on it on high until you see a light layer of smoke. Add about 1/2 cup of oil, season the tubes and tentacles lightly with salt and drop them in. Turn frequently to achieve an even cook on both sides.

  • When the tubes just start to lose their translucent texture, remove them from the heat and lay them out on a paper towel. Add the rest of the oil, bring it up to a smoking temperature and add your beans. Take the pot off the stove after two minutes and transfer the contents to a colander in the sink.

  • Combine the ingredients in a bowl with the salsa. Grate fresh orange zest on top for an extra kick of citrus.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the pan for cooking calamari or baby octopus to fry the beans; this will infuse as much flavor as possible.
  • Pat the squid or baby octopus completely dry before adding it to the pan, otherwise the water and oil will react and cause a dangerous level of splash back.

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