Herby Octopus Salad with Blueberries
You’ve all put up with me lamenting about the fact that, living in the middle of the United States, with no nearby coastline, I can’t buy fresh seafood. And it’s pretty much my favorite thing to eat, over beef and poultry.
I make up for it when on vacation, especially when it comes to squid and octopus. I eat them until tentacles are practically coming out my ears.
Besides being delicious, they’re fascinating creatures.
Instead of whining, I decided it was time to just order some frozen baby octopus. I actually see it frozen occasionally in recipes, so I’m not the only person who can’t always buy it fresh, or wants it out of season.
The company I ordered from is La Tienda, a Spanish website that I’ve used for years. Just about any Spanish product you desire, they sell.
It was a fluke that I found frozen octopus; I didn’t expect La Tienda to have it. I also bought some frozen cuttlefish at the same time – something I’d never tried before – at least not knowingly.
When I received the pound of baby octopus, there were only two, so about 8 ounces each, shown above. I expected baby octopuses to look like ones I’ve had on salads or seen at markets.
But it gave me the opportunity to learn how to break down an octopus. It’s a very straight-forward procedure, and takes minutes.
Herby Octopus Salad with Blueberries
Cause it’s still summer here….
1 pound frozen baby octopus, thawed
Greens of choice
Chopped basil, parsley, and cilantro, about 1/2 cup total
Fresh blueberries, about 1/2 cup
Lemon juice (I used 1 lemon for 1 pound of octopus)
Olive juice, to taste
Aleppo pepper, optional
Rinse the octopus well and lay on a cutting board. Admire it, because it’s a beautiful sea creature!
Slice just below the eyes, and just above the eyes and discard this middle piece.
Then get rid of the beak in the middle of the tentacles.
Turn the head, or hood, inside out. Pull out everything from inside, and discard.
Turn the hood back to outside-in. There is a thin skin covering the hood that can be removed by pulling firmly.
Cut the tentacles off at the very top.
Trim the base of the hood, then slice the remaining hood into 1/4″ thick slices.
With the remaining center “upper thighs”, if you will, cut them each into 8 pie pieces.
From the left, the legs, the hood, and the upper thighs.
The below photo shows the legs at the top, the hood rings in the middle, and the thighs at the bottom.
Rinse the octopus parts, if necessary, then dry them well.
Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Over high heat and with your vent on, and perhaps a few open doors and windows, sear some of the octopus, without crowding it in the skillet, until browned. I cooked the legs, rings, and thighs separately, just because of the various thicknesses.
Remove to a plate and continue in batches; set aside.
Meanwhile, place the greens on a platter or plate.
In a small bowl, toss together the herbs and top the salad with the herbs.
Add the octopus parts, still warm, and the blueberries to the salad.
Drizzle on some fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle on a little salt.
If desired, add some Aleppo pepper for some zing!
And that’s it! The octopus was superb. All it takes is a little searing.
A simple combination of lemon juice and olive was wonderful. And the blueberries added fruitiness. The salad would also be good with warmed lentils.
I was very happy about the quality of the frozen octopus. It wasn’t old or water-logged.
At least I know now that I don’t need to turn up my nose at frozen octopus in the future. I will indeed be ordering it again.
I just have to find someone else to share it with…
And anyone who assumes that octopus is tough and rubbery, hasn’t tried it. (husband)
Love that last photo, looks well cooked Mimi. Well, the upside of a hubby who wouldn’t try it is ‘all the more for him you? 😀
That’s usually the case. More for me!
Lovely recipe and great photos and instructions for preparing octopus. Weirdly I’ve just got back to my hotel in Spain after eating octopus for lunch!
Love this recipe!! :)
Thank you! I enjoyed creating it!
Octopus is one of those food I would always eat :)
I only had one octopus salad in a restaurant a couple of months ago and it was superb. Yours looks just as good as the one I had.
Thank you! I love the way the whole salad turned out!
This looks so delicious. I had octopus for the first time a few months back in a restaurant and loved it. For some reason I was a bit skeptical to try it for so many years but now I love it 🙂
Well, it is funny looking, but I’m glad you finally tried it! It’s remarkable!
I’d eat that 🐙! My NJ born, ocean loving husband has the same lament! But he makes up for it in great steaks.
Well, I still prefer seafood over steaks, sadly!!!
Great tutorial. Baby octopus are indeed quite easy to prepare and I too prefer them over the larger ones. The salad looks so tasty!
Thank you! I was proud of my creation!
Blueberries and octopus? -never heard of that combination before, I could imagine that it’s a surprising and tasty combo :D
I thought it was wonderful!
So many good tips in this post, Mimi! First, the ability to buy it frozen from La Tienda! I have serveal octopus salads from the Venice area and I would love to make them at home. Second, your tutorial on carving up the beast is invaluable!! Third, and this will be Mark’s favorite, is that it will stink up the kitchen. For me, I will sauté it on the burner beside my outdoor glass grill!
I love octopus and here in Greece is a delicious meze we enjoy all year round but especially during summer. This is one fine salad!
Thank you so much!
How informative! I would never have known what to do with fresh octopus. It does sound delicious. Your nail polish matches it pretty well :)
Hahaha! that was not planned!
love this salad ! looks so good :)
Thanks so much!
I love octopus but didn’t realise all the cleaning that needs to be done. What a great idea for salad.
It went pretty fast after I did the first one. A great learning experience!
Frozen octopus is fine. In fact, octopus is often frozen and thawed on purpose to tenderize it. I’m surprised you only seared it and it was still tender — that must be because it’s small (although I wouldn’t call it baby, that’s a lot smaller) and because it was frozen. Octopus is also great when cooked sous-vide. It does release a lot of liquid (which is very flavorful and great for risotto) but is very tender and tasty. Sometimes I sear it on the grill afterwards. Very creative to combine with blueberries.
When I received it in the mail, it was practically thawed. I kept the cuttlefish out to cook first, then re-froze the octopus, so I considered that the tenderizing step! They need a size rating for octopus, because it wasn’t baby octopus like I’ve had on salads, but it was still really small compared to the ones my mother used to catch in the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of Washington. I still remember a “dead” one on a ferry managing to wrap it’s tentacles around my ankle. Scared the you-know-what out of me!
This really appeals to me. In Greece, I ate octopus with dried plums but I have never tried with blueberries.
I don’t think I have, either! But it was yummy!
Oh my God, you killed Herbie the Octopus. Oh wait, I guess you meant “full of herbs.” I have never made anything like this at home! How interesting!