This can’t Be true. Is it?

UPDATE: See below. Lidia Bastianich response. 

We’re going to have our Italian feast on Christmas Eve and one of the appetizer recipes is grilled octopus. I called my fish market and asked when I could pick some up, hoping I could gather it before Christmas Eve day when the parking lot at the market is backed up for a mile or more. I asked for three pounds, cleaned octopus.


They told me you can’t transport fresh/live octopus in the USA and they only carry frozen octopus, from Spain. Is that true????

The thought of frozen sounds awful. Who wants frozen octopus, thawed then cooked – it would be all rubbery, like frozen shrimp. No thanks.

I did a quick Google search and it does seem many people say that frozen is the norm but I MUST be able to find some fresh in NYC, have one of the kids bring it out, right? At a fishmonger in Brooklyn or the Lower East Side, right?

Help me out here folks. Ask your fish monger about fresh versus frozen and get back to me. I’ll change recipes if it has to be frozen.

Meanwhile, while I wait for your responses, I’ve tweeted the question to several peeps who should know: Martha Stewart, NYTimes Food, The Kitchn blog, Lidia Bastianich, Epicurious, and Smitten Kitchen. Because I have such a small Twitter following, I don’t expect anyone to actually answer me but hey, I’m trying all avenues.

UPDATE: Lidia responds. Wow, and thanks. 

27 thoughts on “This can’t Be true. Is it?

  1. We get it live in Miami but that doesn’t help you. There HAS to be fresh octopus in NYC. Five star restaurants aren’t going to serve frozen. Problem might be you have to be a restaurant to buy it fresh though? Maybe only sold to the trade. Isn’t your daughter a restaurant manager?

    1. No. I read that it exists but have not been there. I’ve asked city daughter to do some homework and see where she can buy it. I’m NOT going to buy it frozen, other than if I find what Martha just said cryo-frozen. That’s a good idea.

  2. I love octopus. I usually leave it up to a restaurant, but I’ve prepared it at home a couple of times. Once from a frozen one–meh. I was worried it would be tough, they beat them on the rocks to tenderize them in Greece. The internet told me to boil it first. It was ok, but lots of work and it shrunk significantly during cooking….the whole thing only produced a few bites.

    Now, this is a shocker, but last year at a Costco in Miami, I found cryovaced tentacles that were pre cooked. I grabbed them just to have an easy protein option (or an alternative for one of my sons on stone crab night). Well, I brushed them with olive oil and balsamic, husband warmed/charred them on the grill and they were as good as any restaurant! Haven’t been able to find them up here, though.

    Have you cooked octopus before?

    1. I love octopus too and yes, we’ve cooked it before. What we are doing Xmas Eve is a recipe similar to what your hubby did with it – grilled/charred.
      Costco! Brilliant thought. I don’t belong anymore but it might be worth the membership fee for a year to look around. They might just have that cryovaced version in Port Chester.

        1. I think it was imported from Spain. I loved it so much I google to find it last spring. I did find it on the web somewhere, but can’t find it now.

  3. Here’s an old NYT Mark Bittman article and video about cooking live octopus. I’ll skip your first course and wait for the entree. 🙂

  4. Have you called BonTon in Greenwich ((203) 869-0576)? Tony might have a lead for you. Alternatively, you could check with Dannel Boy in Hartford, as he clearly has multiple tentacles with which to grab tax dollars from southern Fairfield County residents.

      1. BonTon does have fresh live octopus. I ordered mine yesterday. Tony says they have it flown up from Florida. They clean it but give it to you whole. Whoever you spoke to got it wrong. They might also sell frozen but call now to order your fresh.

  5. I was surprised when my fish monger informed me that not only the mussels he sold were frozen but the octopus as well. He also informed me that he supplies the /Ritz with both and that “if it’s good enough for the Ritz it ought to be good enough for you.” It is.

    1. I’m heading to the Norwalk area today for a Stew Leonard’s fix first, then I’ll go into the Costco. I’m going with a friend who is a member at Costco. Thanks for the tips.

  6. Nothing at port Chester Costco. I did call them, they said they had it, I spent 15 minutes looking for it….nothing. I checked with the manager, he said port Chester never has had it, but Norwalk has 100 lbs.

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