Octopus Salad (Insalata di Polpo)

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.

Octopus Salad (Insalata di Polpo) Octopus Salad (Insalata di Polpo)
Tender boiled octopus brightened with a lemony dressing is a Venetian cicheti staple.
Yield: serves 6

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Place octopus, 12 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.