Octopus and Potato Salad Recipe

Octopus and potato salad

T.Tseng/flickr/CC by 2.0 

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 portions
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
466 Calories
17g Fat
46g Carbs
39g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 466
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 2134mg 93%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 118mg 588%
Calcium 195mg 15%
Iron 13mg 75%
Potassium 1618mg 34%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

August is the month when Italians take off for vacation in droves, most heading for the seaside. Many Italian cities become ghost towns, populated only by handwritten signs reading CHIUSO PER FERIE ("Closed for holidays") and overheated tourists. 

In bustling beachside eateries during these summer months, various seafood salads are popular for seafood-based lunches—or light lunches in themselves, when accompanied by some hearty, crusty bread. There are many variations, of course, but one of the most common—and one of my favorites—is a simple, traditional version made with octopus, potatoes, parsley, and celery. The purist, traditional version is flavored only with olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt, and black pepper, but you can also add garlic, fresh mint, or red chili pepper flakes as well if you want a more piquant version.

For this recipe, frozen octopus is preferable as it will be more tender when cooked.


  • 1 pound fresh or frozen octopus, cleaned

  • 3 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cleaned

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 lemon

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus whole leaves

  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

  • 1 clove garlic , minced, optional

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves, optional

  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper, optional

  • 4 lemon wedges, for garnish

  • Crusty bread, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the octopus in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Let barely simmer over gentle heat just 3 to 5 minutes; the octopus will be moist and have a slight chew. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool.

  3. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, add 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.

  4. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

  5. In a medium bowl, toss the still-warm potato slices with the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley and celery and stir to combine.

  6. Cut the octopus into 1-inch chunks and add to the potato mixture. Stir to combine. If using, add the optional garlic, mint, and chili pepper flakes and combine. 

  7. Serve at room temperature, accompanying each serving with a lemon wedge and crusty bread.


  • Octopus can either be just quickly cooked, as suggested here, for a slightly chewy but still tender consistency, or slowly braised for about 1 hour over a very low flame. For a salad such as this, the quick method with a firmer texture is preferable, in my opinion).
  • You can chill the salad in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving, but let it return to room temperature before serving to allow the flavors to shine fully.
  • This dish goes well accompanied by any well-chilled, dry white wine.