Octopus Salad with Green Harissa

Octopus salad with pickled pears, shaved vegetables, and green harissa

Octopus salad. Ok maybe not your usual go-to for a quick, week day meal for the family. It isn’t a standard in our house either but the menu-planning-stars sort of aligned this week so I thought, “why not?” But even though it’s not being a regular on our menu at home I absolutely love octopus! When done well, the different textures and flavors work so well in most cuisines. AND it’s surprisingly easy to cook! So actually, it IS a great meal to add to your family’s menu…. You just hafta get the kids on board with the whole tentacle thing.

This octopus salad recipe is quite simple in technique. Most of the prep time revolves around the breakdown of the octopus, which is notoriously chewy and tough unless cooked in one of two ways: a low and slow braise (or if you’re like me and scored a sweet pressure cooker, pressure cooked for 10 min) or on really high heat for a short amount of time…. or I guess you could also thrash your octopus against a Grecian rock (Greek fishermen actually do this!) but I’ve only worked with the first two techniques so I’ll stick with that this time around. Whichever the approach you choose, the goal is breakdown the connective tissue resulting in a soft and tender cephalopod.

octopus

This recipe is a great beginning-of spring dish. I included a bunch of my favorite crunchy vegetables, a nutty farro grain, and finished it with an aromatic and spicy African green harissa sauce. Plus the added char of the octopus adds a subtly complexity. I’m telling ya- if your family was ever on the fence about eating baby octopus, they wont be after a bite of this flavor-packed octopus salad!

Notes: Check out this pressure cooker! Not only does it cut down on cook time but it also has lots of other features to make cooking easy!

Print Recipe
Grilled Baby Octopus and Shaved Vegetable Salad with Pickled Pears and Green Harissa
Set aside some time for prep early in the day and let the ingredients chill until dinner time, making for quick assembly!
Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Octopus
Salad
Pickled Pears
Green Harissa
Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Octopus
Salad
Pickled Pears
Green Harissa
Instructions
Octopus
  1. Start by combing the marinade ingredients, dividing into 2 bowls, reserving 1 for later. Add the octopus to 1 bowl of marinade, toss to coat, then add to pressure cooker or stock pot. Add enough water to cover octopus. Cover with lid and cook on low for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove octopus from pot and add to reserved marinade. Toss to coat and place in fridge until just before serving/grilling.
Pickled Pears
  1. Combine all of the pickling ingredients in small saucepan, minus the pears. Turn on high and bring to a boil. Pour pickling liquid over sliced pears (making sure liquid covers all of the pears) and place in fridge to cool.
Harissa
  1. Add harissa ingredients to blender or food processor. Blend until smooth but not completely pureed. Leaving a little texture gives the harissa a nice texture.
Finishing
  1. If grilling, cook octopus until slightly blackened. (You can also saute the octopus or just leave chilled). Toss salad ingredients with (drained) pickled pears and octopus. Finishing with drizzle of olive oil and harissa.
    Octopus Salad with Shaved Vegetables, Pickled Pears, and Green Harissa
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