Home cooks might be daunted by the idea of cooking certain types of seafood. But you’ll find this recipe surprisingly easy…and delicious.
Ensalada de Pulpo
Serves 6 to 8
1 frozen Spanish or Portuguese octopus*, about 6 pounds
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Goya olive oil (not extra-virgin)
½ cup white vinegar
1 cup fresh lime juice
4 cloves garlic, pounded to a paste
1 teaspoon pique or substitute Tabasco
2 tablespoons adobo
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
1 large onion, diced
2 cubanelle peppers, seeds and inner white ribbing removed, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeds and inner white ribbing removed, diced
½ cup Goya olives stuffed with pimentos, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons capers
Cook the octopus: Bring a large pot of abundant water to a boil. Completely submerge the octopus in the boiling water. Return to a full boil, and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and set aside undisturbed for 10 minutes. Drain, and transfer the octopus to a bath of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain, and set aside.
Slice the octopus: Using a knife or a pair of scissors, cut out and discard the head from the base of the tentacles. Separate the tentacles from the base, and set aside. Slice the base into ¼-inch-thick pieces, and set aside. Cut away and discard any gummy or fatty excesses on the tentacles. (If you prefer, cut away the suckers from the tentacles). Slice the tentacles into ¼-inch-thick pieces, and set aside.
Prepare the salad: In a bowl, combine the vegetable oil with the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, pique, adobo, black pepper, and oregano. Mix well, and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the onion with the cubanelle and red peppers, the olives, capers and the sliced octopus. Pour the oil mixture over, and toss to coat well. Set the salad aside in the refrigerator to marinate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and serve chilled.
*Spanish or Portuguese octopus is of a far better quality and tends to be most tender, shortening the time it takes to boil and soften. A six-pound octopus might seem like a lot to the average cook, yet when preparing octopus, the shrinkage factor during boiling and the fact that it will be freed of fatty and unwanted tissue should be taken into account.