Grilled Octopus Salad (Insalata di Polipo)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 35 min
  • Inactive: 2 hr
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Octopus:

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

Salad:

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 limes, juiced

1 bunch mint, stems removed, leaves torn into pieces

1/2 cup chopped green olives, preferably Cerignola (available at specialty olive bars)

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

Directions

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill until hot. Position the rack about 5 to 6 inches from the heat.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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