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Salad recipes

Fried Octopus and Mediterranean Potato Salad

Fried Octopus with Mediterranean Potato Salad
Fried Octopus with Mediterranean Potato Salad

As continuation for our previous post about making octopus, this time we have fried version served with wonderful fresh Mediterranean potato salad. First you need to do is to freeze and then boil the octopus tender just like in the previous post. Grilling the tentacles brings crispiness and adds nice smoky flavor.

Ingredients for Mediterranean Potato Salad for 4 Servings

  • 0,5 kg (1 lbs.) small cooked potatoes  – patatas
  • 1 red onion – cebolla rojo
  • 4 radishes – rábanos
  • 2 dl (1 cup) of olives – aceitunas
  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of capers – alcaparras
  • 2 dl (1 cup) of sun-dried tomatoes – tomates secos
  • 3 green onions – cebollitas
  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of extra virgin olive oil – aceite de oliva virgen extra
  • a punch of parsley – perejil
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra

Chop vegetables into small rings as in the pictures. If the potatoes are too big for a bite, half them, too. Add rest of the ingredients along with chopped parsley and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Let the salad rest in the fridge while you cook the octopus.

Ingredients for Octopus and Garlic Oil

  • 1/2 medium size octopus – medio de pulpo
  • 1 lemon – limón
  • a pinch of sea salt – sal marina
  • a punch of parsley – perejil
  • 5 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of extra virgin olive oil – aceite de oliva virgen extra
  • a splash of sunflower oil – aceite de girasol

Cook the octopus according the these instructions.

Chop parsley and garlic very fine and mix well with the olive oil. Season with salt to taste. Put the oil on the side to rest while you grill the octopus.

Put a frying pan or a hot plate very hot and splash a bit of sunflower oil on it. Fry the octopus until the surface begins to brown and the suction cups become crispy. Season with the garlic oil and serve with the Mediterranean potato salad.

¡Buen provecho!

Traditional Spanish Octopus Salad

Octopus salad
Octopus salad, ensalada de pulpo, is a traditional Spanish tapas dish.

Octopus Salad, or ensalada de pulpo or in Málaga area pipirrana con pulpo, is a typical Spanish tapas. Actually pipirrana is the salad and you can find it in tapas bars combined with mussels, shrimps and, of course, octopus.

We had a half of whole octopus in our freezer from previous cooking. Fresh octopus actually gets more tender if it’s frozen first and then defrozen before cooking it. There are many ways to make octopus tender, but this is by far the easiest way to do it. Some people massage the tentacles with an empty wine bottle to make it tender. Another trick is to put some citrus fruits in the boiling water and the most important of all – a wine bottle cork! I’ve no idea what it does, but Spaniards always cook their octopus with a wine bottle cork. Go figure.

Ingredients for Spanish Octopus Salad for 4 Servings

  • 1/2 medium size octopus – medio de pulpo
  • 1 lemon – limón
  • a pinch of sea salt – sal marina
  • a pinch of spicy Spanish smoked paprika – pimentón picante
  • 1 red bell paprika – pimiento rojo
  • 1 green paprika – pimiento italiano
  • 1 onion – cebolla
  • 3 tomatoes – tomates
  • a punch of coriander – cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
  • 1 lime – lima
  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of extra virgin olive oil – aceite olive virgen extra
  • 1/3 dl (1/6 cup) of Jerez vinegar – vinagre de Jerez

First prepare the octopus. Tenderize it by freezing or massaging. Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Add the lemon cut in half. Dip the octopus first into the boiling water for 5 seconds and raise in the air. Repeat this 3-4 times until the tentacles are curvy and place it in the boiling water. Let the octopus cook for 35-45 minutes. If you have any citrus fruit leftovers, you can place them in the cooking water as well (we had some pineapple skins from the breakfast). And don’t forget the cork! Use a fork to test when the octopus is tender. When done, place it on a cutting board to cool while preparing the salad.

Chop the vegetables into 1 cm (1/2″) cubes. Finely chop garlic and coriander and combine all ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lime and combine with olive oil and vinegar. If you don’t have Jerez vinegar, you can replace it with red or white wine vinegar. Add the oil mixture into the salad and season with sea salt to taste.

Chop the octopus into 1/2 cm (1/4″) slices and season with salt and smoked paprika. Combine with the salad and enjoy with white wine or dry sherry, Manzanilla.

¡Buen provecho!

Flank Steak Salad

Skirt steak salad
Flank steak salad with chili lime cilantro dressing.

After Christmas dishes people enjoy having something lighter for dinner. Salad is an obvious choice, but can you make a salad taste good and still be nutritious without being too heavy?

One of our favorite salad is a flank (or skirt) steak salad. Flank steak is a wonderful cut for grilling, because the meat is marbled with little bit of fat making it juicy and moist, yet it’s a lean cut. And that marbling brings all the aromas from grilling into the meat making it very tasty. Therefore it doesn’t need much seasoning except salt and pepper. No marinating, no fancy sauces. And it’s a cheap cut, too!

Ingredients for Chili Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of extra virgin olive oil – aceite de oliva virgen extra
  • juice of 1 lime – zumo de lima
  • 1 chili – pimiento picante
  • 1 red bell paprika – pimiento rojo
  • a punch of cilantro – cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic – diente de ajo
  • a pinch of sea salt – sal marina

Chop cilantro leaves, garlic, chili and bell paprika fine. Combine with rest of the ingredients and season with salt to taste. Let the dressing rest in the fridge while making the salad and steak.

Ingredients for Flank Steak Salad for 4 Servings

  • 1 whole flank steak – entraña
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • salad leaves of your choice – hojas de ensalada
  • 1 sweet onion – cebolla dulce

First prepare the flank steak. Remove the membranes from the steak. You can use a paper towel to get a good grip of the membrane. Season with salt and pepper. Grill 3 minutes per side on high heat and let it rest on a cutting board while preparing the salad.

Wash and dry the salad. Cut the onion into half-rings. Mix with the salad and toss on the plates. Scoop a few tablespoons of dressing on top.

Slice the steak into 1 cm (1/2″) cuts and place on top of the salads.

¡Buen provecho!