Grilled Octopus Salad (Insalata di Polipo)

Recipe courtesy Chef Michael White at Fiamma Trattoria and Bar, MGM Grand
TOTAL TIME: 3 hr 15 min
Prep: 35 min
Inactive Prep: 2 hr
Cook: 40 min
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate


  • 16 ounces cleaned octopus with heads removed (about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds uncleaned)
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine, such as Chianti or Sangiovese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves unpeeled garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 endives with core removed, julienned
    • 3 cups julienned radicchio leaves
    • 2 cups cooked chickpeas or gigante beans
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    Put the octopus in a pot with the wine and enough cold water to cover. Add the onions, carrots, celery, thyme, and bay leaf; bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat and cook until opaque, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the octopus with a slotted spoon and cool. (This may be done a day ahead and refrigerated in a covered bowl.)

    Transfer the octopus to a resealable plastic bag and add the garlic, olive oil, and lime juice; seal and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove the octopus from the marinade and set aside.

    Preheat a charcoal or gas grill until hot. Position the rack about 5 to 6 inches from the heat.

    Combine the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, mint leaves, and green olives in the jar of a blender and puree into a smooth emulsion. Alternatively, whisk these ingredients together in a small bowl for a chunkier texture. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and set aside. Toss the endive, radicchio, and chickpeas together in a salad bowl and set aside.

    Grill the octopus for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once after 2 to 3 minutes, until it is browned in spots and nicely caramelized but not burned. Remove and cut into bite-size pieces. 0054oss with the greens and vinaigrette, divide among 4 plates, and serve.


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