Traditional Italian Octopus Salad Recipe

Author: Veruska Anconitano, Award-Winning Food Travel Journalist, Sommelier & Outdoor LoverAuthor information
About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a a food travel journalist with awards to her credit, such as World Best Food Travel Journalist. She holds a certification as a sommelier and she is also an ardent lover of the outdoors. Aside from this, Veruska is a Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant and co-owns multiple websites that cater to a global audience.
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Who else loves octopus, just as we do? We love all seafood, but the octopus has a special place in our hearts because it is strongly linked to our Italian origins. Eating a good seafood salad is common in Southern Italy, at a point that preparing it’s considered art.

We have an amazing Italian octopus salad recipe we always prepare, and we want to share it with you today. Are you ready to fall in love with this seafood salad?

How do I choose my octopus?

Octopus is rarely available fresh in the United States, but the frozen product is a good substitute. If you can buy a fresh one, make sure you check the following thing before paying for it: check the smell of the animal: if it is fresh, you should be able to smell seawater, nothing else.

Make sure you also check the suckers: if the animal has only one row of suckers, then it is a white-spotted or a musky one. These are two members of the mollusk family that are often sold as substitutes but are of inferior quality compared to the real one.

How to clean an octopus

If you’re lucky enough to be in a place where you can find a good and fresh one, the first thing you want to take care of is cleaning it.

We cannot lie: cleaning the octopus is one of the most disgusting things one can do in the kitchen. One of our first experiences in cleaning a “devilfish” has been memorable: we were removing the inside, and we found the fishes he did eat before being killed. Is this a good memory? Well, we don’t know, but for us, it has been pretty remarkable and somehow disgusting.

We haven’t stopped loving the octopus, and this is our advice on how to clean it.

  • Wash and clean your octopus;
  • Remove the ink sac and internal organs by cutting the beak with a knife.
  • Pull away the beak and the organs;
  • Quickly rinse it under running water.

A fresh fish needs to be tenderized to soften the meat and then the eyes; you can slam it on the work surface before cleaning it.

How to Cook Octopus

In Italy, we have a saying: “The octopus is cooked in its water,” meaning that the more the animal will be left in its juice, the better it will be. It can be cooked in boiling water, taking into consideration that it will take you 30 minutes per 500 grams of it. 

If you have a pressure cooker, you have to reduce the cooking time by at least half.

For this salad you need to boil the octopus, by following these steps:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil;
  • Once the water is boiling, place the animal in the pan, cover, and return to a boil.

Since you need a giant animal for this recipe, the cooking time will be of approximately 40 minutes; in this way, the meat will be tender and juicy.

Our recipe for this perfect and delicious Italian octopus salad is everything but complicated; the cooking method is simple and the result is amazing. Have a look at the recipe, followed by our advice.

Ingredients for

  • 1kg octopus
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Parsley (as much as is needed)
  • 2 chili peppers
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Clean the octopus and then cook in boiling cover and bring
  2. water until the meat becomes white and tender.
  3. Leave the octopus to cool in the cooking water and once it’s cooled, drain and cut into small pieces without removing the outer skin or suckers.
  4. Season the octopus with the chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil, chopped celery, chopped chilies and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Leave the salad to marinate for a couple of hours and serve cold as a starter or main course.


Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 5 hours

Total time: 6 hours

Italian salad with octopus

Tips and trick for your seafood salad

  • This Italian recipe is so simple that it doesn’t require more than what’ve told you to do. You can also use black olives or finely sliced orange to give a distinctive taste to the salad;
  • Add boiled potatoes for a special Italian Octopus and Potatoes Salad.
  • Once prepared, the salad should be consumed within 24 hours, so the salad doesn’t lose its flavor. If there’s any leftover, keep it in the refrigerator and remove a few minutes before serving (in any case within 36 hours).

An Easy Grilled Octopus Recipe for You

Do you like grilled fish? Then you’ll love an excellent grilled one.
Once you’ve boiled it, grill it quickly and serve with lemon wedges, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.

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