Monday, August 15, 2011

Eight-(al)arm salad

On our recent trip to Rome-Greece-Seychelles (I'll be posting about it at greater length soon) I ate octopus 21 days out of the 31 days we were on the road. So when I got home I had a real hankering for my cephalopod friend.

For some reason, octopus isn't all that popular in Florida despite the fact we've got a pretty decent octopus fishery and it's easy enough to find fresh. My friend Laura had a birthday party over the weekend and since it was Laura and her husband, Wil, who introduced us to the island we visited in Greece (and since they dined on octopus with us on a couple of occasions) I made a big bowl of octopus salad. Thing is, lots of folks just don't like the sound of octopus salad. At the party, I told a couple of people it was "Eight-Arm Salad." They misunderstood and thought I was saying "Eight-Alarm Salad."

Man: "So its spicy, huh?"
Me. "It's got a little kick."
Woman: "What all is in it?"
Me: "Oh, a bunch of stuff. Some protein, some veggies, some lemon juice and olive oil..."
Man and Woman (digging in): "Looks good."

Of course, once they got it in their mouths there was no sidestepping the fact that the protein they were munching on came from tentacles. Kinda chewy tentacles. But I've found that once you get people to try that first bite of octopus they generally like it. So what if it takes a bit of subterfuge along the way?

This recipe calls for frozen, pre-cooked octopus which can be found at most decent seafood stores. If you buy it fresh, please seek out the best ways to prep it, which can take a couple of hours of boiling before it's ready to go into a salad.

Eight-(al)arm salad

2 lbs. frozen, pre-cooked octopus
1 lemon, juiced
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 bunch scallions, chopped coarsely
1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, chopped coarsely
1 bunch arugula, chopped coarsely
Sriracha sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

After octopus has thawed, place it in bowl. If any pieces look too big to fit on a fork, cut them in half. Soak with lemon juice, toss and let sit for ten minutes. Add the other ingredients, toss and serve.


Laura Armstrong said...

LOVE IT, Bob!!! I ate the left overs for dinner last night!

Rich Manno said...

I'm using this recipe this coming weekend for sure. It reminds me of a dish at a fantastic Greek restaurant here in Atlanta that grills the octopus and pairs it with chopped red onion and red wine vinaigrette. I hope I can control myself on the Sricha..I struggle with restraint when it comes to that stuff. Post more recipes!! You mentioned quail with Dashiell recently?? Cheers!

Bob Morris said...

Laura, my only regret was that I didn't get to personally spank you.

Rich, grilled fresh octopus is far, far superior and if you can make a salad with that then it will trump this one by miles. Yes, made braised quail with poblanos recently for Dash when Debbie was out of town (Debbie don't do quail, she says they remind her of baby nuns.)

Rich Manno said...

Haha. She's missing out! I love me some quail...but I haven't been bold enough to make it myself at home yet.