One of my favorite dishes in the whole world is Greek style octopus salad, or “htapodi salata”, which combined with boiled potatoes, green onions, parsley and extra virgin olive oil is fabulous served as a side or main dish.
At the beginning of Greek Orthodox Lent, Kathara Deftera or Clean Monday, I prepared several dishes and told you that I was going to post them during this period of lent.
However, due to all the events and other things popping up I have delayed. I shall try to post the other recipes within the next few days.
For those who do not know how to clean an octopus, you can find a link at the end of the post.
I have read that some people use a cork while cooking an octopus. I have never used one and the octopus becomes very tender without it.
How to cook an octopus
The best method to cook an octopus is to cook it in its own juices.
Heat well, a large enough pot to fit the octopus (with no liquid in it) and when it is hot enough put the octopus in it.
As soon as it starts sweating out a pinkish to red liquid, lower heat and cover with the lid. After a while turn it on the other side and keep checking it regularly as it may stick to the pot. Continue simmering until almost all the liquid is absorbed. You will notice that the octopus will shrink considerably as it releases its fluid. No salt should be added.
This will take about 15 – 20 minutes.
When all the liquid is absorbed, the octopus is cooked.
Set aside to cool and cut it into small pieces.
At this stage you can grill it or make it “ladorigani” (meaning olive oil and oregano), by adding olive oil, oregano, capers, salt pepper and vinegar, pickle it by adding vinegar, olive oil and spices, oregano and fresh rosemary or continue cooking it with pasta).
Note: Fresh octopus is less tender and if at the point that it has absorbed all its juices is hard to pierce with a fork, add a small amount of water (about ¼ cup) and continue cooking until it becomes soft and tender to the fork.
- 1 octopus fresh or frozen (about 1 kilo)
- ½ cup white dry wine
- ½ cup olive oil
- A few peppercorns
- 3 – 4 bay leaves
For the salad:
- 2 medium potatoes, cooked
- 2- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- Parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Oregano (optional)
- Lemon juice
- Cook the octopus as above. When there is only a little bit of pink liquid left, add the olive oil, the wine, bay leaves and peppercorns (I do not add salt) and when it begins boiling lower heat and simmer until the liquid has been reduced to just a few tablespoons.
- Remove to a platter but keep the juices.
- Cut the octopus into small pieces.
- Meantime bake the potatoes with skin on, cooking them either in the oven or in the microwave, until soft. You can also steam them in the basket of the pressure cooker (again with skin on), for about 15 minutes.
- When they can be handled, peel and cut them into small pieces.
- While they are still hot add the olive oil and mix.
- Add the leftover juices as well as the remaining ingredients and mix.
Other relevant recipes:
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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,