Bowl of Octopus Salad
(Click to Enlarge)

Octopus Salad
Tunisia
  -   Salata Akhtabut
Makes:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
1-1/2 #  
**
1-3/4 hrs  
Most

This very nice salad will be enjoyed even by people who "don't like salads". Octopus recipes of this sort are popular in the port city of Mahdia and on the island of Djerba, both on the eastern coast of Tunisia. This recipe makes enough salad for 4 to 6 servings, depending.




1-1/4
1/4
a/r
-------
6
4
3
2
-------
2-1/2
3
1/3
1/4
-------
a/r
a/r
a/r
a/r
#
c

---
oz
oz
oz
T
---
T
T
t
t
---



Octopus (1)  
Vinegar, white
Water
-- Salad
Tomatoes
Onions, red
Chili Anaheim
Parsley, flat
-- Dressing
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil, ExtV
Salt
Pepper
-- Garnishes
Lettuce leaves
Olives, Black
Radishes
Lemon Wedges
Make   -   (1-1/2 hrs - 35 min work)
  1. Cut OCTOPUS in large pieces (if large) so it fits the pan well. Put it in a large saucepan with the Vinegar and enough Water to cover well. Bring to a boil and simmer until sufficiently tender (it'll still be a little chewy), but the skin and sucker disks stay on. This is a bit tricky, so see Note-2. Refresh under cold water when done.
  2. Meanwhile   Dice TOMATOES about 3/8 inch, or a bit larger for larger octopus pieces. Dice ONION fairly small. Dice CHILI about 1/4 inch. Chop PARSLEY small. Mix together all Salad Items.
  3. Squeeze Lemon Juice and mix together all Dressing Items. Note that some people include a teaspoon or two of Harissa in the dressing.
  4. Cut Octopus into attractive pieces for the salad. This will, again, depend on size. For the baby octopi used for the photo example, the sack was sliced across twice, and the tentacles separated. For larger octopi, leave the tentacle tips fairly long and cut the rest progressively shorter as it gets thicker. Mix into the Salad.
  5. Prepare Garnishes as desired (any or all, or whatever you prefer). Olives can be whole or halved depending on size. Radishes can be quartered or diced depending on size. Lemon Wedges are optional (there's enough lemon in the dressing for most people).
  6. When ready to serve, shake up Dressing and tumble with the Salad. Arrange Lettuce Leaves in individual bowls, spoon dressed Salad over and arrange garnishes. For buffet service its better to tear up the leaves and incorporate them into the salad, along with the radishes and halved olives.
  7. Serve cool, but not chilled - octopus needs to be nearly at room temperature.
NOTES:
  1. Octopus:   Weight is for octopus cleaned and de-beaked, as it is normally sold here in California. The largest you'd want to buy is about 2-1/2 pounds, because they get rather tough in larger sizes. For a large octopus, buy it a day ahead, unpack it, and let it drain into a bowl overnight in the fridge so you know how much you really have. The octopus will probably have been previously frozen, which is good, because freezing tenderizes it a bit so you don't have to pound it. For details see our Octopus page, and subsequent.
  2. Cooking Octopus:   This depends very much on size, and if they are overcooked, the skin and sucker disks start falling off and they get really grungy looking. 1 to 2 ounce "baby" octopi, as used for the photo example, that will be 35 min max. For larger octopus it can take 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Only sure way is to check it now and then.
  3. Chili Anaheim:   This is the "long green" chili sold here in Southern California. It may be called "New Mexico" or just "Long Green" in other regions. It is a rather mild chili. For details see our Chili Page.
  4. Harissa:   This is the hot sauce of Tunisia. Most canned Harissa is pretty awful - best to make it yourself - see our recipe Harissa.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove ",in=inch, a/r=as required tt=to taste
mgf_octo1* 160321 t26 & var   -   www.clovegarden.com
©Andrew Grygus - agryg@aaxnet.com - Linking to and non-commercial use of this page is permitted.