banner with flag

Octopus Salad

To Prepare Octopus:

  • 2 pounds raw fresh octopus (large)
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 small lemon, cut in half
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 2 green onions rimmed to 5 inches whole

To Prepare Salad:

  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/3 cup pitted black olive
  • 1/3 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 1 bunch of watercress, washed, with large stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Rinse octopus thoroughly in warm running water for 1 minute. Then place in a stockpot with 2 to 3 quarts of water. Add salt, whole peppercorns, lemon, garlic, 2 bay leaves, and green onions.
  2. Place onto boiling water, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for approximately 1 hour or until octopus is tender. The octopus must be completely covered with water while cooking; when water level diminishes, add more, otherwise the meat will not become tender.
  3. The cooking time will be affected by the size of the octopus. As you check for the water level, also check for tenderness of the meat by sticking a fork through the fattest part of the tentacles. The fork should go through without effort when the meat is done and ready to be taken out.
  4. Once done, transfer octopus to a colander and place under cold running water. Slide your hand up and down the tentacles so as to remove the top layer of the slippery tissues. The octopus head has an inner lining; turn the head inside out and remove the tissue.
  5. To make the salad, dice the octopus into pieces approximately l/4-inch thick. Using a glass salad bowl, combine octopus meat, diced green and red peppers, red onion, minced garlic, ground black peppercorns, salt, oregano, olives, capers, olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and 3 bay leaves. Toss vigorously, then cover and store at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  6. To serve: Scoop a mound of octopus salad onto the plate, then sprinkle chopped cilantro on the top.


Copywright 2001, Sheila E. Fridman, Gainesville, Fla.
This site was last updated Wednesday, March 15, 2001.
Contact the author of this site.