Portuguese octopus salad is truly one of my favorite things. Those who know me, know how much I love to eat octopus. Some say it is an acquired taste but I think it is more the texture that people think they may not like. Octopus if not cooked right can be too chewy. If you use the scare technique to cook it, it is a tender bite of heaven. I think you will find it easier than you may anticipate. I find octopus frozen at my local Asian market.
Seafood is abundant off the coast of Portugal and octopus is found on most menus. This salad is made with some onion, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and cilantro, the whole thing topped with fresh squeezed lime and olive oil with a touch of salt and pepper.
The scare technique works well for tenderizing the octopus and also for keeping the purple color. I understand you can also tenderize octopus in a pressure cooker although I have never made it that way, have you? Please tell me how it turned out in the comments below. There is an old wives tale that if you add a cork into the pot of water while cooking the octopus that it naturally acts a tenderizer as well. Since Portugal is the number one exporter of cork why not throw one in for good measure, I did!
I really hope you make this Portuguese octopus salad, you will love it!
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Portuguese Octopus Salad (Salada de Polvo)
- 1 3lb octopus
- 1 white onion quartered
- 1 carrot in chunks
- 3 cloves garlic
- 8 peppercorns
- 1 bunch cilantro stems
- 1 red bell pepper roasted, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 1 red onion chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves chopped
- 1 lime juice of
- 1/4 cup olive oil to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
To cook the octopus
- In a large stock pot fill with 2 liters of water or enough to cover the octopus.
- Add in the white onion, carrot, garlic, cilantro stems and peppercorns to the pot of water and bring to a boil.
- Rinse off your octopus and use the scare technique before placing it in the pot of water. To do this you hold it by the head, and drop the tentacles into the water and swirl them around the pot in a circular motion twice. Remove it and you will see all the tentacles shrivel up (like they got scared). Repeat this process two more times on the third time drop the whole octopus into the pot. Add in a cork for good measure. Let cook until for tender about 50 minutes depending on the size of your octopus.
- Remove the octopus and place on a cutting board, cut into bite size pieces. Place the cut pieces onto a baking tray and add in the rest of the salad ingredients, the red onion, red pepper, sun dried tomatoes and cilantro. Mix it up with the octopus and squeeze over the juice of one lime. Drizzle about 1/4 of a cup of very good olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Mix it all together and serve.