To prevent a minor skin rash, use rubber gloves when handling raw octopus. If the octopus hasn't been cleaned, cut off the top of the head, scoop out and discard the interior, cut off the beak, and separate the tentacles from the head.
Octopus flesh is tough and chewy. The secret to successful octopus cookery is to marinate or precook it to tenderize the meat.
To marinate, rub octopus with grated daikon radish, slice thin, and marinate in mirin and soy sauce for one to two hours.
To precook, bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Put octopus in boiling water, turn down heat, and simmer until the skin can be peeled, about 30 to 60 minutes. Remove from heat and led stand in cooking water until cool.
Cut precooked octopus into 3- to 4-inch (about 7.6 to 10cm) lengths and place in a greased baking pan. Brush with melted butter or oil and season with salt and pepper, or cover with a piquant sauce. Bake in a preheated 450F (230C) oven 10 to 20 minutes.
Cut precooked octopus into 3- to 4-inch (about 7.6 to 10cm) lengths and dredge in crumbs, or cornmeal or flour coating. Preheat broiler and adjust oven rack so octopus is 4 inches (about 10cm) from the element. Broil, turning once, until coating is brown and crispy and octopus is warmed through.
Pour oil into a wok or deep fryer; it should be at least 1 1/2 inches (about 3.8cm) deep, and the cooker should be less than half full of oil. Heat oil to 375F (190C), using a thermometer to monitor temperature. Cut precooked octopus into 3- to 4-inch (about 7.6 to 10cm) pieces. Dip pieces in batter, drain, then slip them into hot oil. Cook until brown, two to three minutes.
Cut precooked octopus into 3- to 4-inch (about 7.6 to 10cm) lengths and stew in red wine, with herbs and spices, for two hours. During the last 30 minutes, add vegetables.