Antipasto salad with grilled octopus

118Octopus:

I enjoy octopus immensely. Although it is very common in Mediterranean European countries, it has not received the attention here in the US. In fact, I suspect many think of it as an exotic food. But if you can get past the tentacle suction cups, you will almost certainly find octopus to be a culinary delight. It’s like many foods; you have to acquire a taste if you have not grown up eating it. I recommend using fresh octopus (buy it already cleaned and prepared) if you can get it.

Some grocery stores and Asian markets carry it. I have no problems finding it here in Florida. I suggest that if you find it fresh, marinate it the same way as I did for the calamari (24 hours) and then grill it the same way. If you cannot find fresh octopus, you can use Vigo’s canned octopus (don’t grill it) as a fallback. They offer it in soy and olive oil, and it is actually quite good. In addition, I use white balsamic vinegar in the recipe. It is not as strong as the regular.

Ingredients (6 servings):

  • 1 cup – marinated mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup – marinated artichokes hearts, chopped
  • 1 cup – palm hearts, chopped
  • 1 cup – Calamata olives (seeds removed), chopped
  • 1 cup – Spanish olives stuffed with pimento, chopped
  • 4 ounces – grilled octopus, chopped (prepared like the grilled calamari)
  • ½ pound – Genoa salami, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 7-ounce bottle – sundried tomatoes (oil drained), chopped
  • 1 cup – cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup – feta cheese (optional)
  • ½ cup – white balsamic vinegar (I use Alessi)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

This is a simple and quick salad to make. Once you have grilled the octopus (marinate and grill it the same way as the grilled calamari), you can add it along with the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. You can also experiment with other ingredients including provolone and parmesan cheese. You typically serve the salad before the meal which is precisely what antipasto means in Italian. Enjoy!