We usually get sashimi items frombut 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 *. They sell only frozen fish but unlike many of the 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 “” 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.