Monday, March 8, 2010

Octopus Salad

So many people cringe at the thought of eating why!!! If cooked properly the taste is amazing. And don't some people eat snails??!!! Octopus was abundant in Malta, and sometimes friends would catch a nice fat one ready to be cooked! I know that in other places, fresh octopus may be difficult to find but you can also use a frozen one, just make sure it is thawed before you start this recipe!
For some interesting reading check out this article on how to cook an octopus.
Clean the octopus well by turning it inside out and removing the entrails and stomach sac. Discard these items, then turn it right side out and locate the beak in the middle of the tentacle and cut it off. Wash the octopus well to rinse out any undesirable pieces left behind. If you don't want to do all this, have the fish monger clean and prepare them for you to take home.

So now you have a nice clean octopus and are ready to make the salad!

1 fresh octopus ( 1300g)
1 bulb fennel  (or 3-4 celery stalks)
 a small bunch of parsley
Juice of 1 lemon, 

2 cloves garlic, crushed (or more!)
5 tbs olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Put the octopus, head down, tentacles up, in a large pot with a lid. Place the pot on a stove with the lowest heat setting possible. Do not add any water! The octopus will release a deep red juice pretty soon and that will be enough.Put lid on. Cook for around 1 1/4 hours (never under an hour, a larger octopus may need up to 1 3/4 hours). Try not to open the lid before at least an hour is over. You can check if done (again, don’t do this too early) with a knife: insert it where a tentacle joins the head. It should be very soft and feel like cutting through butter. When done, remove from the pot and let cool till you can handle it. Discard the juice in the pot.
Chop the octopus in bite-size chunks. Slice the fennel into small pieces. Chop the parsley finely. Mix the octopus, fennel, parsley, garlic,the  lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Adjust taste right before serving (more lemon juice might be necessary).
You can also add some kalamata olives, some mint, well, try the dish then you can add extras yourself.

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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.