Then I remembered the great Harold McGee had taken on the problem and although he hadn't solved it conclusively, I thought I’d give his advice a go.
The octopus requires 3-4 hrs of cooking, but that time is easily spent sitting around watching telly.
This recipe is so simple I’ve decided to try and explain it in the style of that megalithic rock-faced arse Gordon Ramsay.
Octopus! - Legs remove! - Head in bin - boiling water! - Blanch legs, 30secs - Oven! 100 degrees - octopus in dry pan - 4hrs. Done!
McGee explains that an octopus’s body is made up primarily of collagen and for the end result to be tender and juicy, then that collagen needs to melt down and become gelatine. This process and the dry pan style of cooking has the added bonus that the octopus ends up sitting in a wonderful seafood sauce of it's own making. My octopus was indeed tender, and had an incredibly strong flavour of the sea. So strong in fact that my seafood loathing girlfriend wretched when I forced her with the threat of violence to try it, and that, in my book is a result.