Ok, you don’t actually have to use this for only leftover octopus. It’s so good, that you can make it all on its own. But the thing is, if you find you’ve made octopus for dinner, but have a few tentacles leftover, then this is perfect. Because with this dish, a bit of octopus gets stretched out to make a meal. Kind of like octopus helper.
It’s actually a mash up of two of my favorite antipasti at Pierluigi. One of them is called soppressata di polpo. This is made by taking just cooked octopus and forcing it into a round mold. As it cools down, the octopus firms up and becomes almost like a loaf, which is then sliced paper thin, drizzled with oil and served atop a bed of arugula. My other favorite dish is insalata catalana, a salad of barely cooked and still warm shrimp, tomatoes and potatoes, again tossed with arugula.
My version is completely easy and completely delicious. Octopus, potatoes and celery with their leaves. Lots of olive oil, of course, but not much else at all.
octopus + potato salad
1 small octopus (half kilo)
3 large potatoes
the heart of one celery (about 6 small stalks with light green leaves), chopped
1 small red onion, diced
extra virgin olive oil
Cook the octopus as described here. Let come to room temperature. If using leftover octopus, let it come to room temperature before using. Chop into bit size pieces.
In the meant time peel and cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces. Steam them until just done, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Place onions in a large bowl and add still warm potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberarally with salt and pepper. Toss gently to mix well. Add the octopus and celery, and toss again, gently, adding the lemon juice. Taste and adjust for seasoning.