I am posting Octopus Carpaccio today, even if carpaccio is not a traditional Japanese dish. Carpaccio is a dish of thinly sliced raw meat or fish, but I used boiled octopus tentacles. What makes it slightly authentic is that I used yuzu juice to make a vinaigrette and julienned perilla leaves as a topping.
Carpaccio is considered to be quite easy to make as long as you have fresh seafood or meat that can be eaten raw. However in the case of Octopus Carpaccio, boiling octopus without making it tough and chewy happens to be the most difficult thing. So, I included how to boil octopus tender for carpaccio in today’s recipe in case you get a fresh octopus.
What’s in My Octopus Carpaccio
- Boiled octopus tentacles
- Finely diced tomatoes
- Finely julienned perilla leaves
If you can buy boiled tender octopus tentacles, you can skip the instructions for boiling octopus. I bought a fresh whole octopus that weighed about 1kg.
1kg of octopus is quite a lot just for me to consume, but octopus freezes extremely well, and I usually freeze either fresh or boiled pieces for later use. Incidentally, freezing fresh octopus and thawing it makes the octopus meat tender.
Instead of diced tomato you can use pomegranate, which adds a touch of sweetness. Perilla goes well with the yuzu-based vinaigrette, but you can substitute it with finely chopped parsley.
- Yuzu juice
- Vegetable oil
These days, you can buy yuzu juice not only at Japanese grocery stores but also Asian grocery stores and online shops. Yuzu juice will add a Japanese touch to the dish, but you can use lemon juice if you cannot get yuzu juice.
How to Boil Octopus Tender
Cleaning Your Octopus (if not already cleaned)
Where I live, octopus sold at fish shops is already gutted and the sliminess is removed. But if your octopus is freshly caught, you need to clean your octopus. Octopus skin is very slimy, but it can be removed by massaging your octopus with a good amount of salt.
- Detach the tentacles from the head (I do this because it is easier to handle).
- Turn the head skin inside out and remove the internal organs.
- Make an incision along the eyes and remove the eyeballs.
- Remove the black beak that is located where the tentacles meet, by pushing the centre from the head side with your thumb.
- Put salt over the octopus and massage all around the surface of the octopus. It produces a slimy bubbly white liquid.
- When the surface of the skin is no longer slimy, rinse well, removing the slimy substances from the octopus.
- Pound the thick part of the tentacles with a rolling pin. This will make the flesh tender.
Boiling Octopus (see the 1st half of the video)
If you boil octopus for a long time, say 20 minutes, you can make it tender. But for carpaccio, you want to boil your octopus suitable for sashimi or sushi. The key to the tender octopus for sashimi/sushi use is to boil it for a very short period of time.
- Boil water in a large pot.
- Holding the end of the tentacles, lower the octopus into the boiling water and submerge the octopus up to about 1/3 of the tentacles. Boil for 30 seconds or so.
- Then submerge the rest of the tentacles and the head into the boiling water. Leave it for about 1 minute.
- Transfer the octopus to a tray/bowl. If you can, hang the octopus by placing a set of long tongs between the tentacles and put the tong over the deep bowl/to let it cool.
Some recipes tell you to hold the head of your octopus and lower the tentacles into the boiling water gradually from the tip end so that the tentacles curl beautifully. Instead of using this method, I boil the thick end of the tentacles first.
The tip of the tentacles is so thin that it gets overcooked by the time the base of the tentacles is cooked. I think my method makes more sense.
By hanging the octopus with the tentacles dangling, the tentacles become straighter, which makes the slicing easier.
How to Make Octopus Carpaccio
Once you have boiled octopus tentacles, it is quite simple to make Octopus Carpaccio. See the 2nd half of the video.
- Mix the Vinaigrette ingredients in a small container or a jug.
- Finely slice each octopus tentacle diagonally using the sogigiri method.
- Place the sliced octopus radially on a serving plate.
- Scatter tomato and perilla pieces over the octopus.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over it.
Octopus Carpaccio is a good-looking dish with a great colour combination. The slightly bitter and aromatic yuzu-based vinaigrette is perfect for the octopus whose flavour can be rather bland.
If you use boiled octopus tentacles, it will only take 10-15 minutes to make a delicious Octopus Carpaccio.
Watch How To Make It
Yuzu-based vinaigrette and perilla toppings add a Japanese authenticity to this Western dish, Octopus Carpaccio. The slightly bitter and aromatic yuzu juice goes so well with octopus.
In case your octopus is fresh and uncleaned, I added instructions on how to clean and boil octopus.
Prep Time and Cook Time assumes you have boiled octopus tentacles and does not include cleaning and boiling octopus.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 250g/0.6lb boiled octopus tentacles (note 1)
- 1 ½ tbsp tomato deseeded and finely diced
- 2 perilla leaves halved vertically, then finely julienned
- 1 tbsp yuzu juice (note 2)
- 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp sugar
- 3 pinches salt
- 2 pinches pepper
For 1kg/2.2lb of octopus, you will need about 45g/1.6oz of salt (not in the ingredients list).
Detach the tentacles from the head (I do this because it is easier to handle).
Turn the head skin inside out and remove the internal organs.
Make an incision along the eyes and remove the eyeballs.
Remove the black beak that is located where the tentacles meet, by pushing the centre with your thumb.
Place your octopus in a large bowl. Put salt over the octopus and massage all around it including the inside of the suction cups on the tentacles. It produces a slimy bubbly white liquid.
When the surface of the skin is no longer slimy, rinse well, removing the slimy substances from the octopus.
Pound the tentacles with a rolling pin so that the flesh becomes tender.
Boil water in a large pot and add a couple of pinches of salt.
Holding the tip end of the tentacles, lower the octopus into the boiling water and submerge the octopus up to about 1/3 of the tentacles (note 2). Boil for 30 seconds or so (note 3).
Then submerge the rest of the tentacles and the head into the boiling water. Leave it for about 1 minute (note 3).
Transfer the octopus to a tray/bowl. If you can, hang the octopus by placing a long tong between the tentacles and put the tong on the rim of the deep bowl or pot to let it cool (note 4).
Put the Vinaigrette ingredients in a jar or a small bowl and mix well.
Using the sogigiri method, finely slice each octopus tentacle starting from the thick end to the tip. The thickness of the slice should be about 2-3mm/3⁄32-⅛".
Place the octopus slices radially on a serving plate. Place the larger slices around the outside of the circle, then put the smaller pieces inside of the circle made by the larger pieces. The tips of the tentacles are put in the middle at the end.
Scatter the diced tomatoes over the octopus, then scatter the julienned perilla leaves.
Drizzle the vinaigrette over the octopus (note 5).
1. I used medium size octopus tentacles, which is the right size for Octopus Carpaccio. Depending on the size of your octopus, you will need 2 or 3 tentacles.
I bought an uncooked octopus from the shop and boiled it at home. Please watch the video that includes instructions on how to boil octopus.
If you have a fresh octopus like me, follow the instruction section ‘How To Boil Octopus Tender’.
2. The tip of the tentacle is much thinner than the base of the tentacles, so you need to cook the thicker part of the tentacle longer.
3. Depending on the thickness of the tentacles, the time required to boil them varies. My tentacles were about 2.5cm/1" in diameter at the base. When I boiled the octopus, one minute was up before the water started boiling again.
4. I used the pot I boiled the octopus in. By hanging the octopus with the tentacles dangling the tentacles become straighter, which makes it easier to slice them.
5. Sliced tentacles can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days. You can even spread the octopus slices on the serving plate, cover with cling wrap, and store it in the fridge. Just before serving, scatter the toppings and pour vinaigrette.
6. Nutrition per serving as a main.
serving: 153g calories: 201kcal fat: 12g (15%) saturated fat: 1.1g (6%) trans fat: 0.3g polyunsaturated fat: 7g monounsaturated fat: 2.5g cholesterol: 60mg (20%) sodium: 487mg (21%) carbohydrates: 4.9g (2%) dietary fibre: 0.4g (1%) sugar: 1.4g protein: 19g vitamin D: 0mcg (0%) calcium: 72mg (6%) iron: 6.9mg (38%) potassium: 473mg (10%)