• Grilled octopus salad with saffron dressing (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

This hot and cold salad with an interesting and simple dressing is ideal for summer. Choose only octopus that is fresh, the colour should be blue and white (not pink) and the flesh should be tough. The saffron dressing makes a delicious and colourful addition to the freshly cooked octopus.






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  • 2 heads
  • 1
 large red capsicum
  • 1 bunch
 spring onion bulbs
  • 1 kg
 medium-sized baby octopus, cleaned (ask your fishmonger)
  • 1 tbsp 
extra virgin olive oil
  • ½  preserved lemon, finely sliced
  • mixed lettuce leaves

Saffron dressing

  • ¼ tsp
 saffron thread
  • 2
 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp
 Dijon mustard
  • ½
 preserved lemon
  • ½ tsp
 white pepper
  • 1 cup light flavoured olive oil


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roast the garlic, capsicum and spring onions on a baking paper lined oven tray for 40- 50 minutes, or until tender, turning the capsicum occasionally. Set aside and leave to cool. Meanwhile, soak the saffron for the dressing in 2 tbsp warm water for 30 minutes.
To make the saffron dressing, squeeze the roasted garlic flesh into a food processor bowl, add the remaining ingredients, except the oil, and blend until smooth. With the processor motor running, add the oil slowly, until the dressing becomes thick.

Remove the skin from the capsicum and tear into strips. Cut the spring onions in half lengthways and peel the outside skin if tough.

Heat a chargrill or barbecue. Cut the octopus tentacles into sets of 4 (ie halve) and separate the hood from the tentacles. Toss the octopus with half the olive oil and preserved lemon in a bowl, coating the octopus thoroughly. Cook over high heat for 3 minutes, or until pink and tender.

Toss the capsicum, spring onions and octopus with the remaining olive oil and preserved lemon.

Arrange the lettuce leave and octopus salad on a plate and drizzle with some of the saffron dressing.



Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto.