Octopus salad is one of the most famous Dalmatian dishes along the Adriatic coast. Although typically ordered as a starter, this salad is hearty enough to eat as a meal and perfectly pairs with Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. There are countless variations of this dish, and every family treasures their heirloom recipe. You can personalize this salad by adding capers, olives, lettuce, or arugula. Whatever you do, do not add fruit as this is borders on local sacrilege.
2 lbs octopus, remove head and beak
1/2 lb waxy potatoes (new potatoes, red bliss, fingerlings)
Two bay leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, cubed
Two garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
First, you will need to tenderize the octopus. If you plan to tenderize it yourself, freeze the octopus for 2–3 days, defrost thoroughly, and pound the octopus with a mallet to break down the muscle tissue.
Cook the unpeeled potatoes in boiling salted water until fork-tender. Once cooled, peel and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Bring 8 cups of water, the bay leaves, and peppercorns to a boil (do not salt the water). Put the octopus into the boiling water and cook for 12 minutes. Strain the water and let the octopus cool for 5 minutes.
Remove the octopus skin and cut the tentacles into 1/2 inch cubes. Transfer to a serving bowl. While the octopus is still warm, add the olive oil, vinegar, potato, onion, tomato, cucumber, garlic, parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and serve.