Tako is tough, so here is how to tenderize fresh tako. I will also explain how to store it and will share a recipe. If you are buying yours from a market, don’t forget to check that it doesn’t have a fishy smell. If you are feeling adventurous and thinking of catching tako on your own, read my last post, Tako Tuesday. Personally, this is what I prefer to do, hooking and cooking your own is the way to go!
How to clean, tenderize with Hawaiian sea salt, and prep
- Place your tako in a mixing bowl. Rinse and drain.
- Invert the head and use a sharp knife to cut and remove the guts.
- Remove the beak–I’ve never found a use for this part, but everything else is ok to eat.
- Sprinkle Hawaiian sea salt (I am using white, medium grain above) over it and massage. A foam will form (this is the slime).
- Rinse and repeat. Use about a teaspoon of salt for each massage and try to massage for 10-15 minutes. For a small tako (about 1 pound), I would massage it with a sprinkle of salt for about 5 minutes, and rinse. Then do the process one more time for a total of 10 minutes.
- Using a sharp knife, hold each tentacle away from the body and slice toward the base of the head.
- This can keep in the fridge for a couple days.
How to tenderize in your freezer
Freezing the tako is an easy way to tenderize it if you are not going to eat it right away. I like to store individual tako in newspaper because it soaks up slime, prevents freezer burn, and can be thawed later to eat or as bait for fishing.
To store extra fresh tako, rinse each tako thoroughly and lay flat over newspaper with tentacles spread out evenly in one layer. Fold all sides into a square shape and seal in a plastic baggie (I like to use Ziploc bags). This can keep the freezer for up to a month. Just thaw it when you are ready to use.
Items used/related products (Amazon affiliate links):