Ok, so I love octopus. I love it anyway I can get it – boiled, barbequed, roasted in the oven. This recipe is a traditional Croatian octopus salad from Prigorje – a county which lies in the Zagreb region.
Honestly there are tens and tens (possibly hundreds) of ways to do an octopus salad in Croatia but I like this style because it’s substantial and can be a meal on its own.
To make it less ‘heavy’ and more of a starter, take out the potato and add more tomato and olives.
And yes, if I say that I didn’t have reservations about cutting out the eyes or removing the stomach of an octopus, I’d be lying. But I did it and in the end it felt really liberating (that sounds weird but it’s true). Don’t be afraid, you can do it! And it tasted so good that the alien autopsy was worth it!
- One (1) kilo fresh octopus
- Three (3) large potatoes
- One (1) large red (spanish) onion, cut into rings
- Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- One (1) punnet of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 100 grams of kalamata olives
- Three (3) cloves of garlic, mashed
- 100ml of extra-virgin olive oil
- 60ml white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Remove the stomach of the octopus by cutting around the hole at the base and pushing the stomach out. Cut slits around the eye sockets and with your fingers pull out the eye and all the liquid behind the eye. Cut off the top bulbous part of the head and cut one slit and lay it out flat (Yes! This is very much like an alien autopsy!)
- Wash both pieces, tentacles and head, under cold running water.
- Take a mallet and bash all the large parts of the tentacles and head piece (with the flat side of the mallet). The outer skin will tear and that’s ok. Run your fingers firmly along each tentacle and make sure that all the muscles are broken. When you hold up the tentacle skirt piece, all the legs should hang reasonably straight and not be coiled.
- Next take a large pot fill with water (no salt needed), turn on high and put the octopus in. When it starts to boil, turn it to a low heat and boil for 70 minutes.
- Put the potatoes on the boil until tender. Drain potatoes, remove the skin and cut into quarters.
- Put the onion, parsley, tomatoes, olives into a serving bowl and set aside.
- Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and set aside
- When the octopus has finished cooking, drain and set it aside to cool.
- In a large bowl combine potatoes, salad mix, octopus and dressing. It can be served right away or slightly cooled.
- Serve with a good white wine, and crusty bread
Let me know if you tried it and how it went! And if you really did disassemble an octopus!
Dobar Tek! Zivjeli! (Bon Appétit! Cheers and let’s live!)