Mexican style octopus salad, with tomatoes, green and red onion, cucumbers, and cilantro.
If you are using frozen octopus, unwrap it and place it in a large rectangular dish filled with cold water to defrost.
- One 2 pound octopus, cleaned*
- Several large sprigs of fresh oregano
- Several large sprigs of fresh parsley
- Several sprigs of fresh cilantro
- 1 cup seeded, chopped cucumber (peeled if the peels are thick and bitter, otherwise leave them on)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 3 green onions, sliced, including some of the darker green ends
- 1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced (test for heat, if really hot, only use a small amount)
- 1/2 cup (loose) chopped fresh cilantro, including tender stems
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups chopped, seeded tomatoes
*If you buy a frozen octopus, it has already been cleaned. If you have an octopus fresh from the sea, there are a few steps you need to take to get it ready to cook, i.e. removing the beak, the eyes, and the ink sac. See this video or this blog post for good explanations on how to do that.
1 Heat a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place the raw octopus in the boiling water, return the water to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Then remove the octopus from the pot and place to cool on a sheet pan. Discard the cooking water.
2 Cut the octopus into large pieces, discard anything that doesn't look like meat (innards, beak, etc.) that somehow slipped by the cleaning process. Place the pieces of the octopus on the bed of herbs.
3 Prepare a bed of herbs (parsley, cilantro, fresh oregano) in a small Dutch oven or covered casserole. Place the octopus pieces on top of the herbs, cover and bake in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 1 3/4 hours, until tender (adjust cooking time for smaller or larger octopi).
4 Remove the pieces of octopus to a sheet pan to cool. When cool to touch, pull off any gelatinous bits that surround the pieces of the octopus that you don't want to eat. (It's a texture thing. If you don't mind the texture, don't worry about it, it tastes good.) You may also notice small round pieces of meat that sort of look like eyeballs. They're not eyeballs, but pieces from the octopus' suction cups on the tentacles. They taste good too, just like the rest of the octopus. Cut the meat into 1/2-inch pieces. You should have close to 2 cups of chopped octopus meat.
5 Place the chopped octopus into a large, non-reactive bowl. Add the cucumbers, red onion, scallions, cilantro, dried oregano, and jalapeño. Add the lime juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and stir to combine. Cover and chill for 2 hours or overnight. Once ready to serve, stir in the chopped tomatoes.