This octopus salad will transport your guests to coastal Italy, sipping a glass of vino Bianco while enjoying the freshly-caught grilled polpo or frutti di mare. My version is a simple yet elegant, perfect served as an appetizer at your next get together with friends. The hearty salad is complemented by peppery arugula, and slightly biter radicchio greens. The octopus gets its tender-texture from being cooked slowly in simmering water with vegetables, herbs, and vinegar and further, marinated for up to a day. Simply dressed with good quality extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of flat-leaf Italian parsley, this octopus salad remains one of our friends’ favorite — hearty, filling and reminiscent of sunny days on the beach!
Ingredients: octopus, red wine vinegar, celery stalks, carrot,red onions, garlic cloves,fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, fresh sage, fresh parsley, bay leaves, whole black peppercorns, baby potatoes, arugula, radicchio, Cannellini beans, extra-virgin olive oil, white-wine vinegar, lemon, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Wash the octopus thoroughly under streaming cold water, holding it with the tentacles down. Carefully work through the tentacles and its skin to wash out all of the sand.
Grab the octopus carefully by its head with tongs and slowly dunk it into the pot containing only the plain boiling water. Do this seven times in a row. It will help to clear out the sand from the tentacles and also cause them to curl up into loop-like spirals.
Prepare all of the vegetables and herbs in advance, put them into a large pot, and add salt and red wine vinegar. Pour in enough water to cover the octopus completely, and bring to a boil.
Next, submerge the octopus into the pot of boiling water containing the herbs and vinegar, bring it to a boil again (the temperature usually drops right after you put the octopus in), and reduce the heat to a simmer. Make sure to not let your water boil, just simmer. After fifty minutes, pierce the octopus with a paring knife or slice off a sliver from one of the tentacles and try it to determine if it is sufficiently cooked. The flesh should taste soft but still slightly chewy, it might be a bit too salty at first, but don’t panic, that’s exactly how it should be.
Cut the tentacles into bite size pieces. If desired, at this point, the octopus can be marinated in olive oil, some vinegar and with a small smashed garlic clove for up to a day covered in the refrigerator. Remove your octopus from the fridge half an hour before serving, discard the garlic.
To assemble the salad, place octopus meat into a large mixing bowl, add boiled potatoes, washed and drained white beans. Add chopped parsley.
When the salad is ready to be served, add arugula and thinly sliced radicchio. Drizzle the salad with olive oil; add some white wine vinegar, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss to combine carefully so that arugula doesn’t wilt.
Transfer to a serving platter.
Finish the salad with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve.
Octopus Salad with Cannellini Beans, Baby New Potatoes, Arugula & Radicchio Greens
recipe detailsServes 4
For the octopus
- One 2 ½-3 pound octopus
- 1 cup red wine vinegar (12-quart stock pot)
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 red onions, quartered
- 10 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 springs fresh rosemary
- 2 springs fresh thyme
- 1 spring fresh sage
- 5 springs fresh parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- ¼ cup of salt
For the Salad
- 7 oz. Medley baby potatoes (purple, red or white creamer), boiled
- 1 cup arugula
- ½ small size radicchio, cut into thin strips
- 4 oz. Cannellini beans, drained
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons white-wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ lemon
KITCHEN TIP Curled tentacles will result in esthetically beautiful presentation when the meat is sliced.
Wine Pairing Domain Servin Petit Chablis, “Sur le Clos”, Burgundy, France 2011