Italian Octopus and Potato Salad
The octopus and potato salad is a simple Italian dish to prepare even if it takes a few hours. It can be served as an appetizer or even as a main dish, warm but also cold, with or without tomato: in a few words, it is a recipe so versatile that can be adapted to many different situations, as well as being ideal for those who want to cook in advance and bring to the table when needed.
The success of octopus and potatoes depends on two basic elements, octopus and potatoes. The true octopus is the one with two rows of suckers (if there is only one it is a sand octopus, not necessarily less good but certainly less valuable) and to be good it must be fresh or just thawed then shiny and without stains. In turn, the potatoes must be intact or on the peel, there must be no hole and no shoot; preferably yellow-paste potatoes are used, which are more powdery and suitable for absorbing the seasoning.
To these ingredients must then be added necessarily good oil that will contribute to the success of the final recipe.
This octopus and potatoes is a typical Neapolitan recipe (if you have ever eaten in a Spanish restaurant, you will have noticed that there is also a Spanish variant called pulpo a la gallega which also contains paprika) and should ideally be consumed no later than 24 hours to prevent the octopus from losing its taste. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge and taken out a few minutes before consuming them; in any case, no later than 36 hours. The basic recipe includes very few ingredients and few frills but if you want you can add some olives aand/or cherry tomatoes, for an even richer salad.
I leave you the recipe to prepare this delicious salad of octopus and potatoes in a row; after the recipe you will find all the useful tips to choose the perfect octopus to use for your preparations.
Ingredients for 4 people
- 1 kg of octopus
- 1 celery coast
- 4 potatoes
- 2 lemons
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Spring onion (optional)
- Clean the octopus and cook it in a saucepan full of salt water for about 30 minutes.
- Peel the potatoes, cut into cubes and bleach them in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes. Pass them quickly in cold water to make them cool.
- Peel the celery and cut it into rounds. Bleach it quickly in boiling salted water.
- Once the octopus is cooked, cut it into chunks and transfer it into a glass bowl.
- Combine celery and potatoes, mix and season with salt, pepper, oil, and lemon (spring onion is optional). Serve immediately.
Preparation time: 1 hour
Tips for choosing the perfect octopus for your salad
- The octopus is not seasonal so it is always present, regardless of the season;
- The octopus, in general, to be good, or tender, should be frozen and then thawed; this is because its meats relax when they are defrosted and therefore the octopus becomes soft. So even when you buy it fresh, you should buy it frozen and then thawed or, as you used to in the past, just fished and beaten vigorously to soften it;
- Based on the above, the frozen octopus should not be discarded a priori as long as it is first quality and traceable octopus;
- Always choose the rock octopus and not that of sand: the rock octopus has a better meat and is better suited to cooking in boiling water. The sand octopus is ideal for stewing but its meat is less consistent and therefore must be “supported” with an excellent seasoning.