Monday, 23 June 2014

Salad from Beneath the Sea!

Antipasto di Pulpo & Verdure
Octopus & Vegetable Antipasto

Antipasti, those great, tasty little dishes that we all love to enjoy at the beginning of a good Italian meal... Light, appetizing and sometimes so delicious that we find ourselves over-indulging all the same! You just have to hand it to them, those Italians... They do know how to tempt you and get you into the mood before your meal begins!

And so this evening, I tried making my own version of one of my favorite appetizers- an "insalata di pulpo" or octopus salad... With plenty of carrot, celery and lemon to make it satisfying, summery and delicious... What's not to like?!?

So let's get cooking!

Being as I used baby octopus to make my salad, the cooking time was also as short as the tentacles were- haha! But all kidding aside- this took just 15 minutes to make and was tender and delicious as can be... And here is how I made it 

I guess this quantity of octopus and vegetables would be enough for 2 generous helpings as an appetizer, although this evening it just went to make one good serving, which was my supper , but the ingredients were:
2 baby octopus, 2 sticks of celery, 2 carrots (or 4 small ones in this case), 1 pepper of choice, 1 shallot, 3-4 sun-dried tomatoes, 1 lemon & plenty of fresh parsley and coriander.

The resulting dish is as tasty as it is colorful, it is as easy on your tummy as it is easy to make... and it is, as is almost every dish that I make, ready in next to no time!

Simply slice up the vegetables into nice, bite-sized slices, cut the sun.dried tomatoes into thin shreds and finely chop 2-3 slices of lemon zest, ready to go into the pot as soon as we have boiled our octopus...

Clean the octopus in the usual manner, cutting away the main bulbous part of the body and the tentacles, leaving you with the part of the octopus that contains the eyes
(eew, I know!) which can be discarded and then remove the "beak", by simply pressing against the spot in the center of the tentacles... Kind-of like you press against a button to push it through a buttonhole... And then... Out it pops! easy!

Cooking is also easy... 10 minutes at a gentle, rolling boil will do just fine for these little babies. After 10 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and then chop the octopus into bite-sized pieces.

Once the octopus is ready, rinse the saucepan out quickly, bring a little water to the boil and then add the carrots and celery. Boil for 3-4 minutes and then add the shallot and sun-dried tomatoes. At this point, still don't season anything yet, as the sun-dried tomatoes will take care of that for us in part...

Toss all of the ingredients together whilst the vegetables are still hot and the octopus lukewarm and add the juice of a full lemon, a good drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground pepper, plenty of parsley and cilantro and some freshly ground pepper. Now it is time to taste your salad and see if it has enough seasoning, but if not, you can add a little salt now and toss it in with the rest.

Nice and light and refreshing, with plenty of citrus freshness from the lemon, tangy sun-dried tomatoes and plenty of herbs... This is so nice and summery!

And as I said... It tastes that good that you may find yourself eating a little more of it than you intend to at first... Which is great! that's what you have made it for! So go ahead and enjoy!


  1. I could eat that whole dish in one sitting, no problem! I absolutely adore octopus and I have rarely seen it made so very colorful.

  2. I'm glad you approve Frank! I had never made it before... and... well- you know me... The colors just happened! :-) it wasn't that bad for a first attempt! :-)