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Insalata di Polpo – Italian Octopus Salad

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  • Author: Cara Quinn
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


With a few common vegetables and herbs, create a refreshing antipasto salad with octopus that is sure to entice eaters.


  • Two octopuses (approximately 500 grams or around 1 pound each.)
  • 2 carrots (or a handful of baby carrots, diced)
  • 2 stalks celery (diced)
  • A bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley (chopped)
  • Olive oil (enough to cover octopus)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • Salt (to taste)


  1. Place the octopuses and a cork from a recently opened bottle of wine into a large pot of cold water. If you don’t have a bottle open, this is a great excuse to uncork one! No-one knows why, but southern Italians swear that a cork in the water renders the octopus more tender. Bring the water to a boil, and then let boil gently for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, and allow the octopus to cool to room temperature in the water it was cooked in.
  2. In the meantime, dice the carrots and celery finely, and the garlic super-finely. Chop about 2 tablespoons of flat leaf Italian parsley. Place it all together into a medium bowl.
  3. Remove the octopus from the water and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut into small pieces, and add it to the bowl. Cover with extra-virgin olive oil, stir in the juice of one lemon, and salt to taste. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes for the flavors to express themselves, then serve.
  • Category: Antipasto, Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
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