This seafood salad makes for a stunning antipasto or light lunch. Be sure to buy the freshest octopus possible to ensure its tender once cooked.
- 1–1.5 kg octopus
- 100 ml white wine
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1–2 bay leaves
- 3–4 white peppercorns
- 3–4 medium potatoes, peeled
- salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
- flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish
- crusty bread, to serve
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.
Place the octopus in a large heavy-based saucepan or wok and add the wine, olive oil, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a fitted lid and gently poach for 60–70 minutes or until fork tender. Set aside to cool completely in the pan.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 30–35 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and allow to cool for 10–15 minutes.
Take the octopus out of the pan, reserving the poaching liquid, and set it on a board to clean. Cut off the head, flip it inside out and pull out the innards. Rinse under cold water to remove any grit, if necessary. Cut the body in half lengthways, then push your thumbs through the middle to ease out the beak. Discard. Pull off the skin using your fingers or by rubbing the tentacles with a tea towel.
To assemble the dish, cut the octopus and potatoes into small chunks and arrange in a bowl. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and 2–3 tablespoons of the reserved poaching liquid, season with salt and pepper, and scatter with parsley. Enjoy with crusty bread as a stunning antipasto or light lunch.
• When shopping for octopus, make sure you choose one that has not been frozen and then thawed, to ensure great tenderness once cooked.