Octopus and potato salad, a refreshing and light dish that reveals the exquisite taste of the octopus. It is a Mediterranean delight to enjoy either as an appetizer or a main course, served either warm or cold and accompanied by a glass of dry white wine. The simple dressing made with olive oil and lemon juice brings out the flavor of the octopus and the potatoes.
This is a lovely way to eat octopus, a low-calorie and lean seafood, and is an ideal way to get protein, minerals (especially selenium), vitamins and antioxidants, without taking in too much fat.
The name of octopus derives from Greek, octo eight and pous piede, with eight feet. Octopus is delightful, but it can be tricky to cook it, with possible results ranging from soft and tender to tough and rubbery. The cooking time is critical for the best results, and I would recommend tenderizing it with a meat hammer (see note) before cooking.
INSALATA DI POLPO CON PATATE (OCTOPUS AND POTATO SALAD)
Preparation time: 1 h Cooking time: 40-45 minutes Serving: 4
1 whole octopus, about 900 g (2 pounds)
1 celery stalk
1 yellow onion
2 bay leaves
2-3 black pepper corns
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 medium size potatoes
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoons capers preserved in salt, washed and dry
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil (Extra Virgin)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Wash and clean the octopus, removing the ink sack and the internal parts
2. Prepare a pot of a vegetable stock with plenty of water and the carrot, celery, onion bay leaves, black pepper corn and vinegar. Bring it to boil, and dip in only the tentacles (holding the head) 4-5 times to curl and soften them. Then drop the whole octopus into the water, cover and cook on low heat for approx. 40-45 minutes. The meat should be tender. Don’t overcook
3. Meanwhile cube the potatoes and steam until tender
4. When the octopus is done boiling, let it cool in the liquid, then remove it from the water with tongs. Rub with a some paper towel to remove the skin. Chop off the head (there is not a lot of good meat in it) and cube the tentacles in small pieces 2 cm ( about 1 in)
5. In a small bowl prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley and garlic
6. In a large bowl combine the octopus, the potatoes and the capers and season with the dressing. Place it on a serving plate or in a shell. You can either serve it warm or cold. You can, alternatively, also set the potatoes on a serving dish and place the octopus in the center, then add the dressing on top.
Note: When you buy the octopus, you can verify the freshness from its color; it should be bright and intense. The octopus meat is soft and tender, but it can also rubbery depending on the preparation. Traditionally, the octopus was beaten on the rocks to tenderize its meat. If you don’t have a rocky coast just outside your kitchen door, you can tenderize it with a kitchen hammer for 5-10 min. -Paola