Octopus Salad (Insalata di Polpo)

  • Serves

    serves 6


Tender boiled octopus brightened with a lemony dressing is a Venetian cicheti staple. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Dana Bowen's story Good and Plenty.


  • 4 lb. cleaned frozen octopus, thawed and rinsed
  • 1 14 cups olive oil
  • 13 cup kosher salt, plus more
  • 6 tbsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 12 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rib celery, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Step 1

Place octopus, 1⁄2 cup oil, salt, and chile flakes in an 8-qt. saucepan, cover with water by 1", and boil; cook until tender, 2-3 hours. Drain octopus; discard head, and peel off skin. Cut tentacles into 1" pieces. Transfer to a bowl; toss with remaining oil, parsley, garlic, celery, juice, and salt and pepper. Cover; let sit for 1 hour to blend flavors.

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