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Octopus salad

  • 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Medium
  • Second Courses
This octopus salad is simple to prepare and perfect for warm summer days.

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • 2 lb octopus
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • minced parsley to taste
  • 1 pinch oregano
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste


Clean the octopus by removing the innards, eyes and beak, located in its mouth. Wash the octopus well under cold running water and drain thoroughly.

Put a pot with at least 2 quarts of lightly salted water on the heat. Just as it begins to boil, plunge the octopus quickly three times, holding it by its head. Then place it on the bottom of the pot completely immersed in the water and cook for at least half an hour together with a clove of garlic and bay leaf.

To make sure that the octopus is cooked, poke it with a fork: the meat should be tender, but not mushy.

Once ready, drain the octopus and cut it into strips. Arrange in on a  serving dish and season it with a sauce made by whisking together the oil, lemon juice, parsley, remaining clove of chopped garlic, a pinch salt and pepper and oregano.

Serve warm or cold.

Food History

Protection against vampires and a guarentee of bad breath, garlic is called for in many recipes, even though it causes some fear due to its pungent smell.

It is a bit strange to think that in some cultures it was once considered one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs. In India, for example, garlic was thought to stimulate desire and therefore monks, widows and young women were forbidden to consume it to avoid the risk of commiting sexual acts.

In contrast, in countries bordering the Mediterranean, garlic has always been considered a panacea against all evils. In ancient Egypt, for example, there was a common belief that garlic could not only alleviate any pain, but that it could also multiply the forces of those who ate it. Maybe that's why, as reported by Herodotus, garlic was fed to the workers involved in the construction of the pyramid of Cheops.

In ancient Rome, however, garlic became famous for its antiseptic properties. Pliny the Elder reported that it was used by the legionaries to fight infectious diseases.

Interestingly, centuries later, during the Second World War, Russian military doctors ended up imitating the soldiers of ancient Rome when, having finished their antibiotics, began to administer garlic to the wounded due to its antibiotic properties.

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