Zesty Octopus Salad

An octopus salad plate in front of a glass and a bottle of Apothic Red


  • ½ lbs octopus tentacles
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ fennel bulb
  • ½ large orange
  • 5 oz salad mix or micro greens
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes (minced)
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried Moroccan olives (minced)
  • 1 tbsp toasted unsalted almonds (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp shallot (minced)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Octopus prep

  1. Fill a large pot with water and set to boil. Add ¼ cup of vinegar and salt to the water.
  2. Add in your octopus and bring the water to a simmer.
  3. Cook time will vary depending on the size of your octopus. Test when your octopus is ready by checking when the thickest part of the tentacle can be pierced easily with a paring knife. This can take up to an hour.
  4. An alternative prep method is to use a pressure cooker/Instant Pot. Fill the cooker with just enough water to submerge the octopus. Cooking time will be roughly half an hour. Using an Instant Pot, set to ‘meat’ setting and let the pressure ‘naturally release”.
  5. Once cooked, remove the octopus from the pot and place into a large bowl filled with ice and water to stop the cooking process.
  6. Once cool, clean the octopus by rubbing away the purple skin and any soft, loose bits.
  7. Separate the tentacles by cutting them from the main body of the octopus (if applicable) and setting aside in the refrigerator to be seared later.

Fennel prep

  1. Prepare the fennel by cutting the tops off, leaving just the bulb.
  2. Cut the bulb in half. From each half, remove the core by cutting at an angle into the half bulb.
  3. With a mandoline or a knife, carefully slice the fennel very thinly – no more than 1mm thick.

Tapenade prep

  1. Prepare the garnish for the salad by zesting an entire orange and it aside.
  2. Peel the orange, being careful to remove the white pith as well. Using a paring knife, cut each orange slice away from the membranes on either side. Cut each cleaned segment into 1 inch pieces. Make sure to save the ‘core’ of the orange for juicing later. Set aside.
  3. Finely mince the sun-dried tomatoes, olives and almonds together.  Place into a small mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Add half the orange zest to the mixture.


  1. Mince half a small shallot and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Squeeze the leftover orange core for its juice into the bowl, being careful not to get any seeds in the bowl.
  3. Into the same bowl, add in your olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, the rest of the orange zest, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Whisk it all together.

Octopus prep – part II

  1. Now that your octopus has cooled down, pat it dry using a kitchen towel.
  2. Coat a small pan with olive oil and heat to medium high heat. Add the tentacles and sear both sides to a light golden brown – roughly 1 minute per side.
  3. Remove tentacles from the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finish & Serve

  1. Combine the majority of the dressing with your salad greens and shaved fennel, reserving a few tablespoons to dress the octopus.
  2. Lightly toss the greens and fennel until uniformly dressed and pile high in the center of your plate. Dollop small amounts of the olive, sun-dried tomato and almond mixture over the salad.
  3. Arrange your seared tentacles around the base of the salad and top it with orange segments, as desired.
  4. Place the octopus on your dressed plate, drizzle the remaining dressing on the tentacles, and enjoy this citrusy creation with a glass of Apothic Red.

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