Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Octopus Salad

Wednesday, July 04, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Salads like this one are found all over Puglia, almost always with carrot, celery, and parsley (we suspect the locals like the combination as much for its gorgeous color contrast with the octopus as for its freshness and crunch) and lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon. When people think of octopus, they think of a chewy, tough, bland protein option. However, when properly prepared, the octopus is fairly similar in texture to lobster. ... Octopus has a light taste that is actually more similar to chicken than it is to squid or other seafood.

Serves 8 (as part of antipasti) servings


2 pound frozen octopus, thawed and rinsed, or fresh

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 celery rib, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

1 carrot, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano


Cut off and discard head of octopus, then cut tentacles into 1-inch pieces. Generously cover octopus with water in a heavy medium pot and gently simmer, uncovered, until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Drain octopus in a colander and cool to room temperature, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and additional sea salt to taste.

Chef’s note:

Octopus salad, without parsley, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Stir in parsley just before serving.

Octopus info

Octopus is low fat and is great because it contains very low amounts of saturated fats. This means that it can be a great option for someone who want to lose weight or someone who just wants to keep being fit.100 grams of octopus has only 160 calories. Another advantage is that octopus contains many healthy nutrients. Store fresh octopus in the fridge in a tightly sealed container, and cook within a day of purchase, or freeze for up to two months. Store leftover cooked Octopus in a sealed container in the fridge, and use within 3 days. Most seafood can be eaten fresh and raw really, especially shellfish and crustaceans. You can get octopus (tako) sashimi, but apparently, it's quite tough. You can also eat some species live, although I'm not too keen on that idea myself, and we leave it to someone else.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog

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