Boiled Octopus Salad with Almond Tarator

Everyone loves octopus but most people are frightened of cooking with it. This recipe hopefully gives you the confidence to give it a go. On the side is a delicious Sicilian bread sauce almond tarator.

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1 kg (2 lb, 4 oz) octopus tentacles

5x garlic cloves, lightly smashed

1x long red chilli, sliced (seeds removed, if you prefer mild heat)

1x tablespoon chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

1x tablespoon chopped marjoram

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) white wine vinegar

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) mild extra virgin olive oil

Extra white wine vinegar, to serve

1x head of fennel

1/2 head of radicchio

1x celery heart light green leaves only


For the almond tarator

2x slices of sourdough bread

1/2 cup almond meal

2x garlic cloves

½ cup water

50ml lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

100ml milk


  1. Place a large saucepan of sea water over high heat and bring to the boil. If sea water is unattainable, add 500g of rock salt to 5 litres (20 cups) of water and bring to the boil.
  2. Blanch the octopus three times in boiling water for about 5 seconds each time.
  3. Once complete, turn the heat down and add the octopus and potatoes to the same pan.
  4. Gently simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove the octopus from the pan and set aside.
  5. Once the octopus is cool enough to handle, chop it into 5 cm (2 inch) pieces and put in a non-reactive bowl.
  6. Add all the remaining ingredients and leave to marinate for 2 hours minimum in the refrigerator
  7. Remove the garlic. Season with more vinegar and season with freshly ground black pepper. It shouldn’t need any salt.

 Massimo’s tip: when chopping garlic, use the back of your knife and heel of your hand to crush it first and save yourself time

For the tarator

  1. Dip bread in milk and leave for 15 minutes. Squeeze dry and place in processor along with almond meal and garlic. Add water to make a smooth paste, add olive oil, a little salt and pepper, lemon juice to taste.
  2. To serve place some almond tarator on a plate, top with marinated octopus. Finely slice some fennel, radicchio and celery heart and place on top.

Note: A little extra water might be needed. Consistency should be light and fluffy.

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