This quick, easy and elegant Grilled Octopus, Olive and Fennel Salad comes together simply with frozen cooked octopus, fresh fennel and tangy castralavan olives. Tossed in a zingy lemon vinaigrette, this grilled octopus recipe makes a great addition to any seafood feast- from a Seven fishes dinner to a summertime weekend lunch!JUMP TO RECIPE
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A super simple and elegant grilled octopus salad
If you love octopus, you're going to love this super simple Grilled Octopus, Olive and Fennel Salad recipe. This octopus salad recipe takes a shortcut in using frozen and fully cooked octopus legs. The eliminates the lengthy process of preparing and cooking a whole fresh octopus, so this salad is quick, easy and ready to eat!
What goes into the salad?
To make this super simple seafood salad, you will need:
- A pound of cooked frozen octopus legs. Remove them from the packaging the night before you want to make them, and allow to thaw in the refrigerator before marinating. I've found great frozen octopus legs at both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
- Fresh fennel. You'll use the bulb and the fronds for this recipe. I like to slice the bulb thinly with a mandoline for ultra-thin slices. Rinse the cut fennel well in a colander to remove and dirt. Reserve the fronds for adding to the dressing, and for presentation when plating the salad.
- Sliced celery. Thinly slice, and include leaves from the stalks- they have great flavor!
- Castralavan olives, pitted and sliced in half. These olives are so delicious and flavorful, but are hard to come by pre-pitted. To pit, simply press the olives with a chef's knife to flatten, then remove the pit.
- Flakey sea salt, such as Maldon, for serving.
- Extra virgin olive oil, for serving and for the marinade/dressing (more on that later).
The easiest of octopus recipes
If you're looking for a quick and easy beginner grilled octopus recipe- this is it! There's no preparing and boiling required since we're using frozen prepared octopus. All you need to do it fully thaw it, and marinade the octopus in the dressing for a few hours to add flavor/get it seasoned and well oiled for the grill.
Marinating and grilling the octopus
Before grilling the octopus legs, you'll marinade them in the lemon vinaigrette the salad will be dressed in. Once they have marinated for 2 hours, they can be grilled. Grill them whole over medium-high heat, either on a gas or charcoal grill, or in a preheated grill pan indoors. The octopus is already cooked, so we are just looking to add a bit of color and smokey flavor to the tentacles. 2-3 minutes a side is all you need.
Dressing and serving the octopus salad
The fennel, celery and olives get dressed in the same dressing that the octopus is marinated in. To make the dressing, you will need:
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest
- Extra virgin olive oil
- A fresh garlic clove, crushed
- Some finely chopped fennel fronds
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Dijon mustard
To make the dressing, simply whisk the ingredients together until well combined. Add half to the thawed octopus to get it flavored and ready for the grill, and reserve the other half for dressing the salad.
When you're ready to assemble the salad, toss the fennel, celery and olives in the reserved dressing, and set aside. Grill the octopus, then slice into bite sized pieces. Add the octopus to the salad, and toss to combine.
Salad can be served immediately with flakey sea salt, olive oil, and fennel fronds. Alternatively, you can store the dressed salad in the refrigerator until ready to eat. The salad just gets better as it sits!
This salad will keep for about 2 days in the refrigerator, so it can be made in advance for parties and holidays.
Grilled Octopus, Olive and Fennel Salad
- mandoline or sharp knife
- grill or grill pan
- 1 lb cooked frozen octopus legs, thawed
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced (fronds reserved) , use mandoline or sharp knife for paper thin slices
- ½ cup thinly sliced celery, with leaves
- ¾ cup castralavan olives, pitted and sliced in half
- flakey sea salt, such as maldon, for topping
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling on top
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 crushed fresh garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon chopped fennel fronds
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Add all marinade ingredients to a medium bowl, and whisk to combine. 2. Marinade the octopus in half of the dressing, and reserve the other half in the refrigerator until ready to dress the salad. 3. Marinate the octopus for at least 2 hours and up to overnight before grilling. 4. Prep the salad ingredients, whisk dressing again to reincorporate the ingredients, and toss with the fennel, olives and celery. 5. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat, and grill octopus for 2-3 minutes a side, just until a bit of smoky flavor is added and some color is achieved, 6. Slice octopus into small pieces, and toss with the salad. 7. Top with flakey sea salt, fennel fronds and a drizzle of olive oil. 8. Salad can be made in advance, and kept for 2 days in the refrigerator.
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