There is no secret potion that make Greek food so delicious; the country is blessed with rich agriculture. The fruits of their land and seas are so bountiful that you can easily have fresh vegetables, produce and seafood.
Greece has one of the longest coastline in Europe. Understandably, its marine life is teeming with fish, squid and octopus. It is such a common sight to see octopus being hang outside houses in coastal areas.
Octopus in my salad? Why not! If you want to know and try various Greek salads, you cannot pass on having an octopus salad. It may sound exotic if you’re not in Greece, but in Greece, this salad is actually a simple fare.
Don’t be so intimidated by the octopus. Here are a few preparation tips:
- Thorough wash to remove sand and other particles.
- Remove eyes, beak, tentacles, ink sac and intestines. Your butcher can do this.
- Avoid cooking the octopus by frying or sautéing in butter, because octopus is naturally high in cholesterol.
- Use non-stick cooking spray when grilling or sautéing.
This Octopus Salad needs:
- White wine vinegar, 4 ounces.
- Extra-virgin olive oil, 4 ounces.
- Fresh lemon juice, 4 ounces.
- Dried bay leaves, 4 pieces.
- Freshly-ground black pepper.
- Kosher salt, 30 grams.
- Dried oregano, 5 grams.
- Garlic, minced, 1 clove.
You can use any mixed greens for salad. Here is one suggestion:
- Romaine lettuce, 1 head.
- Peppery arugula, a few sprigs.
- Peppery wild cress, a few sprigs.
- Borage, 3 sprigs.
- Dill or fennel fronds, 4 sprigs.
- Scallions, 3 pieces.
- Fresh mint.
Cut them just before serving. It is good to cut or slice very thinly. A coarse cut can affect the taste of the salad.
How to prepare the octopus:
- In a saucepan, boil together vinegar (3 tbsp.), water (6 cups), salt (2 tbsp.) and bay leaves.
- Add octopus then put on low fire.
- Let it simmer, but stir occasionally.
- Wait for the octopus to be tender, approximately 30 minutes cooking time.
- Remove octopus from the pan and drain.
- When drained, cut into smaller pieces.
- Put cut octopus in a bowl, mix with remaining lemon juice, oregano, oil and garlic.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
To serve the Octopus Salad:
Put the salad greens on a platter. Use this as the bed for the octopus mix. Season with salt and pepper.
Octopus is generally a healthy food. It is low in fat. It is rich in iron, which carries oxygen throughout your body and boosts the immune system. It has high content of selenium, which aids digestion and is also an antioxidant. It is full of vitamin B12 essential for red blood cells production, and also for brain functions. On the downside, it is high in cholesterol so how it is cooked matters. Try to avoid rich butter.
It can also be eaten in various ways. You can grill it. For an added spin, you can pair it with skewered vegetables like asparagus and squash. You can also sauté, and then mix it with seafood stock. You can season with onions, bay leaves, leeks, salt and pepper added into the pan. Just before serving, drizzle some lemon juice on it.