Octopus, Green Beans & Potato Salad

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 Octopus, Green Beans & Potato Salad 

Octopus is perhaps one of the favorite items on the menu in New York City restaurants- braised, grilled or simply boiled, it is absolutely delicious! Its meaty texture, supple palate feel and variety of possible finished flavors make it a consistently excellent appetizer or the main course. Octopus is easier to make than one might think. My preparation is very simple and always works! Boil fresh octopus in a large pot for less than an hour with plenty of aromatics like thyme, rosemary, bay leave and parsley along with some vegetables-carrots, onions, celery, whatever you can find in your fridge. Be mindful that when it comes to ensuring that your octopus comes out soft and flavorful the two most important and time proven ingredients are salt (use plenty of it, the water should taste like the sea) and red wine vinegar, and trust me, you want your octopus to be soft!  Bright and crunchy, this salad always hits the spot during the hot summer months. Haricot verts, hearty potatoes and briny fried capers will round it off nicely as well as provide fresh, visually appealing elements for the plate. Because octopus is usually served only in restaurants you will be a star of your gathering and your stature with friends will skyrocket! Cook, entertain, enjoy!

Ingredients: octopus, carrot, onion, lemon, garlic cloves, red wine vinegar, rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, peppercorns, bay leaves, haricots verts (green beans), multicolored potatoes, radishes, white wine vinegar, parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, capers, chives, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cook the octopus: Wash the octopus thoroughly under the cold running water. Carefully work through its tentacles to wash off the sand.

Using a 12-quart stock pot, put in it roughly chopped carrot, onion, lemon, smashed garlic cloves, herbs, bay leaves, vinegar, salt (the water should taste like sea, salty) and peppercorns. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the octopus completely and bring to a boil.

Place a small pot with just plain water next to the 12-quart pot and bring to a boil. Holding the octopus with tongs dunk it slowly for a few seconds 7 times in a row into a small pot with plain boiling water until its tentacles have curled up.  Kitchen tip: Curled tentacles will result in aesthetically beautiful presentation once the octopus is cooked and will help to get rid off the extra sand in its tentacles.

Transfer the octopus into the 12-quart pot of boiling water, bring it to a boil again then lower the temperature and simmer for 50-60 min. Make sure that the octopus is completely covered by water. Do not let it boil, gently simmer it.

Transfer octopus to a bowl.

Once the octopus is cool enough to handle, cut off the tentacles and slice off the head into bite size pieces. Set aside.

Blanch the beans:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until just tender. Drain and cool in the ice bath, then drain on the paper towels.

Boil the potatoes: Cut the potatoes into ¼-inch slices. Put the garlic, bay leave, black peppercorns in a piece of cheese cloth “sachet” and tie it together with a twine. In a medium pot put potatoes, sachet and salt, add cold water to cover. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and discard the sachet.

Fried capers: Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat; add 1 teaspoon olive oil and capers. Toss to coat. Fry the capers for 5 minutes until nicely browned.

Thinly sliced radishes. I used mandoline slicer to make them paper-thin but you can achieve a similar effect with a thin sharp knife.

Make the dressing: Whisk together vinegar, garlic, parsley. While whisking, gradually add the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make the salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine green beans, potatoes, octopus tentacles, cherry tomatoes, radishes, capers, chives. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently mix to combine. Taste the seasoning and adjust if needed. Transfer to a large platter and squeeze half a lemon on top.

Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Octopus, Green Beans & Potato Salad

recipe details

Serves 6

Ingredients

For the octopus

  • 3 lb. octopus, cleaned
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½-3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 5 small rosemary sprigs
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves

For the salad

  • 1 lb. haricot verts (green beans)
  • 8 oz. small multicolored potatoes
  • 3 small radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leave
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Cook the octopus: Wash the octopus thoroughly under the cold running water. Carefully work through its tentacles to wash off the sand. Using a 12-quart stock pot, put in it roughly chopped carrot, onion, smashed garlic cloves, herbs, bay leave, vinegar, salt (the water should taste like sea, salty) and peppercorns. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the octopus completely and bring to a boil.
  2. Place a small pot with just plain water next to the 12-quart pot and bring to a boil. Holding the octopus with tongs dunk it slowly for a few seconds 7 times in a row into a small pot with plain boiling water until its tentacles have curled up.

Kitchen tip: Curled tentacles will result in aesthetically beautiful presentation once the octopus is cooked.

  1. Transfer the octopus into the 12-quart pot of boiling water, bring it to a boil again then lower the temperature and simmer for 50-60 min. Make sure that the octopus is completely covered by water. Do not let it boil, gently simmer it.
  2. Transfer octopus to a bowl. Once the octopus is cool enough to handle, cut off the tentacles and slice off the head into bite size pieces. Set aside.
  3. Blanch the beans:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until just tender. Drain and cool in the ice bath, then drain on the paper towels.
  4. Boil the potatoes: Cut the potatoes into ¼-inch slices. Put the garlic, bay leave, black peppercorns in a piece of cheese cloth “sachet” and tie it together with a twine. In a medium pot put potatoes, sachet and salt, add cold water to cover. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and discard the sachet.
  5. Fried capers: Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat; add 1 teaspoon olive oil and then capers. Toss to coat. Fry the capers for 5 minutes until nicely browned.
  6. Make the dressing: Whisk together vinegar, garlic, parsley. While whisking, gradually add the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  7. Make the salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine green beans, potatoes, octopus tentacles, cherry tomatoes, radishes, capers, chives. Pour the dressing and gently mix to combine. Taste the seasoning and adjust if needed. Transfer to a large platter and squeeze half a lemon on top.

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