Spanish Tapa-inspired Octopus Salad
A Spanish tapa-inspired take on the classic tender marinated octopus. It can be served alone or on toast. And if you don’t fancy octopus, this dish is also great with cooked prawns or cooked chorizo.
¡Hola from Spain! During our short visit to San Sebastian in the Basque Country (Northern Spain) we were spoilt with the regions’ culinary offering, ranging from visits to countless pintxos bars to meals at two of the world’s top 10 restaurants.
Our lunch at Arzak was one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten. Juan Mari and his daughter Elena are masters of making classic comfort food dishes shine beyond imaginable. Think Bacon and Eggs on Toast or Fish and Chips kind of comfort but kicked up a few notches. Every dish is crafted with respect that the original deserves, and enough creative flare to make it special but not pompous. A visit to Arzak is one we would highly recommend.
As for the pintxos – Basque version of tapas for which this region is famous, there are plenty to choose from in the town’s Old Quarter. From classic jamon croquetas, anchovies and chorizo, to more modern selection of ceviche, sea urchin and various incarnations of foie.
Tomorrow, after a short scenic drive to Rioja wine country and a stay at this amazing hotel, we head over to Barcelona to enjoy some Catalan sunshine, culture and food influenced by the Mediterranean climate. This is where I first tried this delicious marinated octopus salad a few years back. Served with or without anchovies – both black and white, it is a tasty tapa-style dish that goes well with a glass of chilled wine.
- 1 medium raw octopus, cleaned (approx 300g or 1lb)
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- ¼ cup light olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- marinated octopus, prepared as above
- 1 medium cooked potato, chilled and diced
- 1 head baby cos lettuce, shredded
- 1 dill pickle, diced
- ⅛ cup olives of choice
- 1 tsp capers in brine
- 1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1-2 tbsp chopped salted and white anchovies (see note), optional
- 1 tbsp of the leftover oil
- toasted bread of your choice
- lemon wedges
- Cut the octopus into quarters, removing the head and beak (hard, shell-like bit from the middle near the head).
- Bring a saucepan of water and a tablespoon of vinegar to a boil and drop in the tentacles and head. Bring to a boil then lower to a gentle simmer and cook for 1-1.5 hours or until the tentacles are soft when pierced but not mushy. Drain and cool in an ice bath.
- Peel off any of the slimy membranes – be careful not to remove too many of the suckers during this process, they look great and add texture to the dish.
- Chop up roughly. Mix oil and lemon juice in a bowl and add octopus. Mix well and season with black pepper. Refrigerate until needed (up to 2 days).
- In a large bowl, mix together the octopus, diced potato, lettuce,diced pickle, olives, capers and anchovies, if using. Drizzle with oil. Transfer onto serving dish.
- Serve with lightly toasted bread and lemon wedges.