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Closeup of octopus eyes and head
Closeup of octopus eyes and head
Jason Edwards/National Geographic Image Collection
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Close view of octopus tentacles with suction cups
Close view of octopus tentacles with suction cups
Jason Edwards/National Geographic Image Collection
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Ollie Octopus

Ollie Octopus swims through the ocean,
His eight orange arms are in full motion.
If he is hungry he holds onto a crab.
He'll squirt out black ink if you give him a jab.
Camouflaged, he hides out in a cave,
He is very smart, and he's not too brave!
by C. Etling























  Definition: octopus   
Related: Invertebrates
cephalopod mollusk having no shell, eight muscular arms or tentacles, a pouch-shaped body, and two large, highly developed eyes. The prey (crabs, lobsters, and other shellfish) is seized by the sucker-bearing arms and pulled into the web of tissue at the base of the arms, paralyzed and partially digested by a poisonous salivary secretion, and chewed by the horny, beaklike jaws and the radula, or tooth ribbon. Octopuses move by pulling themselves along with their arms or by forcibly expelling water through the funnel or siphon in the manner of their near relative, the squid. Sometimes they construct barricades of large stones; most hide in rocky crevices at the approach of danger or cloud the water by ejecting dark “ink” from the ink sac. They also change color (from pinkish to brown) according to mood and environment, sometimes exhibiting rapid waves of color changes that sweep over the body. The 3-ft (91-cm) American devilfish is found off Florida and in the West Indies; a smaller species that reaches only 2 in. (5 cm) is found N of Cape Cod. The common octopus of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic occasionally reaches 10 ft (3 m) in length; the giant octopus of the Pacific may have a diameter of over 30 ft (9 m). Octopuses reproduce sexually. One of the arms of the male is modified into a sexual organ that deposits spermatophores in the mantle cavity of the female. The eggs are encased in capsules and attached to a rock, where the female guards them. The young hatch directly, without a larval stage. Octopus is eaten in many parts of the world. Octopuses are classified in the phylum Mollusca , class Cephalopoda, order Octopoda, family Octopodidae, genus Octopus.
OCTOPUS Encyclopedia.com

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OCTOPUS RECIPES
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Octopus in Red Wine
Pickled Octopus
Octopus Tidbits
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See more recipes in our Recipe pages




OCTOPUS IN RED WINE
(Htapothi krasato)

      INGREDIENTS
1kg (2.25lb) young octopus
8tbsp olive oil
350g (12oz) small onions or shallots
150ml (0.25pint) red wine
6tbsp red wine vinegar
225g (8oz) canned tomatoes, roughly chopped
2tbsp tomato puree
4 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
black pepper
2tbsp chopped parsley

   DIRECTIONS
First clean the octopus.  Pull off the tentacles, remove and discard
the intestines and the ink sac, the eyes and the beak.  Skin the
octopus and wash and scrub it thoroughly to remove any traces of sand.
Cut it into 4-5cm (1.5-2inch) pieces and put it into a saucepan over
medium heat to release the liquid.  Stir the octopus until this liquid
has evaporated.
Pour on the oil and stir the octopus to seal it on all sides.  Add the
whole onions and cook them, stirring once or twice, until they colour
slightly.
Add the wine, the vinegar, tomatoes, tomato puree, bay leaves, oregano
and several grindings of pepper.  Stir well, cover the pan and simmer
very gently for 1-1.25 hrs, checking from time to time that the sauce
has not dried out.  If it does - and this would only happen if the
heat were too high - add a little more wine or water.  The octopus is
cooked when it can be easily pierced with a skewer.
The sauce should be thick, like a runny paste.  If any of the liquid
separates, remove the lid from the pan, slightly increase the heat and
stir until some of the liquid evaporates and the sauce thickens.
Discard the bay leaves and stir in the parsley.  Taste the sauce and
adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve, if you like, with rice and a salad.  A Greek essential is
country bread to mop up the sauce.
SERVES 4-6.
A Taste Of The Greek Islands by Pamela Westland.

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PICKLED OCTOPUS
(Htapothi toursi)

  INGREDIENTS
1kg (2.25lb) young octopus
about 150ml (0.25pint) olive oil
about 150ml (0.25pint) red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic
salt and black pepper
4-6 stalks thyme or 1tsp dried thyme
lemon wedges, to serve

   DIRECTIONS
Prepare and wash the octopus (as in Octopus in Red Wine).  Place the
head and tentacles in a pan with 6-8tbsp water, cover and simmer for
1-1.25 hours until it is tender.  Test it with a skewer.  Drain off
any remaining liquid and set aside to cool.
Cut the flesh into 12mm (0.5inch) strips and pack them loosely into a
screw-topped jar.  Mix enough oil and vinegar to fill the jar - the
exact amount will depend on the relative volumes of the seafood and
the container - stir in the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
If you are using dried thyme, mix it with the liquid at this stage.
Pour it over the octopus, making sure that every last piece is
completely immersed.  If you are using thyme stalks, push them into
the jar.
Cover the jar and set it aside for at least 4-5 days before using.
To serve, drain the octopus and serve it on small individual plates or
saucers with the lemon wedges.
Cubes of at least one-day old bread, speared on cocktail sticks, are
the usual accompaniment.

SERVES 8

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Octopus Tidbits

2  cups octopus 
2  eggs 
2  teaspoons dill weed 
2  tablespoons finely chopped onions 
1/2  cup breadcrumbs 
1/4  cup butter or margarine, melted 

10 servings
45 minutes 30 mins prep

Boil fresh octopus for at least 10 minutes.
Remove skin.
The skin and suckers will"slip" off the tentacles when it is cooked.
Prepare cooked octopus for tidbits by grinding as you would hamburger.
Once is sufficient.
No further tenderizing is necessary.
Mix ingredients together.
Form into balls no larger than 1" in diameter.
Roll in bread crumbs to coat.
Pan fry in butter or margarine until golden brown.
Garnish with lemon, lime, tomatoes or lettuce.

This recipe is from Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. These are wonderful for fancy buffets, freeze well, and easy to fix.
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