Monday, February 24, 2014
Simple & Zesty Octopus Salad (2 Versions!)
I use tinned octopus in olive oil, which is very popular in Spain, Cuba and the Mediterranean. You can find it in the same shelf area as sardines, anchovies, smoked oysters and other such canned seafood. If your regular grocery store doesn't carry canned octopus in olive oil, check any specialty-foods stores, Latino tiendas or Middle Eastern markets in your area if you have them.
Both versions of the following recipe make 2 to 4 servings depending on whether you serve the octopus salad "as is" with crackers or crostini or pita wedges, or as the topping to a mixed-greens or wilted spinach salad.
2 4-oz tins of octopus (pulpo in Spanish) in olive oil, undrained
1 large Roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 to 3 mini sweet peppers*, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Juice of half a lemon
Opt: 2 cloves roasted garlic, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives or Spanish olives
2 Tbs diced roasted red peppers (called pimientos in Spanish)
For the Mediterranean version, add:
1/4 cup sliced Greek or Mediterranean olives or black olives
1/4 cup (or more to taste) crumbled feta cheese
*For a spicier salad, you can substitute a small hot chile for one of the sweet peppers, e.g., a red or green jalapeno pepper or a serrano pepper for the Spanish version or a peperoncini (pickled is fine) for the Mediterranean version. Unless you're a glutton for searing heat, however, I don't recommend using a habanero or other super-hot pepper because it can overpower the other flavors in the salad.
Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir gently until thoroughly combined. Serve as is for an appetizer with crackers, crostini or pita wedges, or over salad greens or lightly sauteed spinach.