Insalata di polipetti e patate can be found on the menus of most restaurants along the Ligurian coast where the octopus are sold literally off the boats in the harbour. This relatively simple recipe using the local Ligurian Taggiasca olives and served with fresh lemons is so full of flavour and is amazingly satisfying served with some crispy fresh bread.
Prep Time 2
Cook Time 2
- White wine, 1 cup/ 240ml
- Peppercorns, 5
- Fresh cleaned octopus, about 800g/ 28oz – ideally the baby red-brown polipetti which have two lines of suckers on each tentacle
- Celery, 1 stick diced
- Garlic, 1 clove crushed
- Taggiasche olives, 15
- Nudo extra virgin olive oil, 5 tbsp
- Flat leaf parsley, 1 handful roughly chopped
- Lemons, juice of one lemon & a couple of lemon wedges
- Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Boiled new potatoes, 400g/ 14oz skinned and chopped into cubes (if very new you can leave the skins on)
A few tips from Nudo chef Jake:
Before you begin your quest for baby octopus, prepare yourself for a wild goose chase (unless you happen to be somewhere on the Mediterranean coast where it's a lot easier to find). In the UK it's relatively easy to source frozen octopus (usually the Mediterranean ones, with the two rows of suckers which are frozen) but baby octopus is a bit more elusive. There are a lot of really tiny Pacific baby octopuses around but if you want to be true to the origins of this recipe you might want to stick with the Mediterranean variety and may find yourself buying a rather large octopus. Don't worry. They just take a lot longer to cook.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the cup of wine, peppercorns, one lemon wedge, a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley and a generous pinch of sea salt. Put the octopus into the boiling water, cover and allow it to come back to the boil. Simmer until tender - this may take an hour or two depending on the size of the octopus. You'll need to top up the water as it cooks too.
- Make a dressing by mixing the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice together, adding the rest of the parsley roughly chopped and the crushed garlic. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Drain the octopus (discarding the peppercorns, lemon and parsley) and leaving the tentacles whole (if small), slice the bodies in slanted rings or pieces of about 2 cm/ 1 inch.
- Mix the octopus with the celery and olives, pour over the dressing and leave to infuse for at least an hour.
- Steam the potato cubes until they can be easily pierced with a knife and mix them with the octopus just before serving. Adjust salt, pepper and lemon to taste serve at room temperature with the lemon wedges.