Octopus and potato salad is an easy Italian seafood recipe, made with a few simple ingredients.
This delicious octopus salad is made with tender octopus and boiled potato cubes, dressed with parsley, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. That’s all.
A simple recipe that for its goodness belongs to the Italian culinary tradition from north to south. In fact, you can find the recipe for octopus potato salad in all menus of Italian fish restaurants.
Octopus and potato salad is excellent in all seasons, as an appetizer or as a tasty main course.
Octopus and potato salad is a classic dish of Italian tradition, often served as an appetizer for Christmas or other important occasions.
Try making it at home, it’s easy and your guests will love it!
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Octopus and Potato Salad Recipe
- Prep Time: 20 Min
- Cook Time: 30 min + cooling time
- Servings: 6
- About 1 Kg (2,2 Pounds) of Octopus
- 1 Kg (1,1 Pounds) of potatoes
- 125 g (1/2 cup ) of extra virgin olive oil
- 50 ml (3 tablespoons) of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
- 1 garlic clove
- a bit of fine salt
- a bit of freshly ground black pepper
How to Cook Octopus so That it Stays Tender
Have you ever eaten octopus salad where octopus was tough and chewy? You didn’t like it, did you? So here’s how to cook octopus, making it soft, tender and tasty.
So here’s the trick: immerse the octopus in a large pot with cold water. Cover the pot with the lid and turn on medium heat. Cook the octopus for about 30 min (40 if it is more than 1 kg) from when the water starts to boil and keep the heat low.
The common mistake is to remove the octopus from the pot immediately after cooking. DON’T DO IT! It’s imperative to leave the octopus in its own water until it has cooled down to keep the octopus soft and tender.
In this way, during cooling, the octopus continues cooking in a sweet way and the meat does not become fibrous and hard.
Just as a famous Neapolitan saying goes:
“O purp se coce dint all’acqua soja”
that is: “The octopus must cook in its own water”!
Cook the Octopus
Step 1) – First of all, take care of cleaning the octopus: turn and empty the head, remove the tooth that is in the center of the tentacles and the eyes with a small knife or with some kitchen scissors. Then rinse it very well under running water.
Step 2) – Fill a sufficiently large pot with cold water and immerse the octopus, making sure it’s completely covered with water. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. The water will slowly begin to color and the octopus will begin to curl, taking on the shape of a flower.
When the water reaches a temperature of 100 °C (212 F) cover with a lid and lower the heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can tell by the fact that appear the classic bubbles.From now on, calculate 30 minutes of cooking (40 min for octopuses over 1 kg).
Step 3) – Then turn off the heat and let the octopus cook slowly covered in its water till it’s quite cool (about 1 hour). From time to time (not too often otherwise you risk losing the heat from the pot) turn the octopus and check the softness with the tines of a fork.
While cooking and cooling the Octopus, prepare the potatoes and marinade for the dressing.
Cook the Potatoes and Make the Marinade
Step 4) – Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes of about 2 cm (1 inch). Boil them in plenty of lightly salted water for about 20 minutes. Drain and let them cool.
Step 5) – While octopus and potatoes are cooking, make the Marinade. So, in a bowl, using a fork or a small whisk, emulsify oil, chopped parsley, lemon juice, a clove of garlic (which you will remove), salt and pepper.
Step 6) – After the octopus has cooled, remove it from the water and place it on a cutting board. Remove excess skin. It is not necessary to remove the skin completely but only the skin of the head and the excess skin between the tentacles. Leaving some skin makes the octopus tastier and more colorful. Cut the octopus into small pieces.
Step 7) – Place octopus and potatoes in a serving dish. Add the seasoning, and mix very gently until the marinade is evenly distributed. Remember to remove the garlic clove, otherwise, if you prefer you can chop it and leave inside.
Let octopus and potato salad rest for 1 hour to well combine the ingredients before serving. The ideal thing to do would be to keep it cool overnight. Serve the octopus salad with potatoes at room temperature.
It’s better to eat octopus and potato salad a couple of hours after its preparation or the day after.
If you have octopus salad leftover, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a maximum 2 day. You can freeze the octopus once cooked, without the potatoes, only if you have used fresh ingredients.
Octopus and Potato Salad: Tips and Variations
Octopus and potato salad is very popular and loved throughout Italy. Like all traditional Italian recipes, there are several variations with the addition of ingredients linked to the territory or family traditions.
In Liguria they often add a little Taggiasca olives and pine nuts. In Genoa they also combine boiled green beans and a little Pesto or o chopped fresh basil.
In the southern regions they often add capers, black olives and cherry tomatoes.
In Naples they season octopus and potato salad with the juice of two lemons, chopped garlic, plenty of parsley, chilli pepper, and Gaeta olives.
Warm Octopus and Potato Salad
Octopus with potatoes is traditionally considered a salad and served as a cold appetizer especially in summer. However, it is very good and tasty also served warm as a main course or as a single dish.
Follow our recipe but mix the ingredients without letting them cool completely and serve immediately.
Here an idea for a different and more refined presentation of the warm octopus and potatoes: instead of cutting the potatoes into cubes, mash them, still hot, with a potato masher or blend them to obtain a more homogeneous cream.
Place a layer of hot potato cream on the plate and place the octopus on top and season as described above. For this presentation we advise you not to cut the octopus into too much small pieces.
Octopus and Baked Potato
This dish can be made by pairing boiled octopus with baked rather than boiled potatoes. With crispy and tasty baked potatoes and soft and tender octopus you will get a truly extraordinary and particularly tasty dish.
Octopus and Stewed Potatoes
You can follow the classic recipe that we have showed you, and enrich it with tomato passata for a red version of octopus and potatoes.
In this way: boil the potatoes for just 5 minutes and then cook them in a pan with 4 tablespoons of tomato passata and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
When almost cooked, add the boiled octopus and a tablespoon of its cooking water and mix everything together.
Light Variants: Octopus Salad
To have a less caloric version of octopus and potato salad, just reduce the amount of oil and potatoes.
If you want an even lighter version, we recommend eliminating the potatoes and reducing the oil as much as possible for a delicious Octopus Salad.
Boiled octopus is very suitable for low-calorie diets. In fact, you can combine it with the vegetables you prefer. Any ideas? You can replace the potatoes with steamed zucchini or green beans. Or with raw white celery or fennel.
A very popular octopus salad is with some olives, cherry tomatoes, a few pomegranate grains and arugula.