Crispy Octopus & Cranberry Bean Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Crispy Octopus & Cranberry Bean Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Serves 6


There are several steps in this dish-blanching, grilling, braising, and then frying but it's worth all the effort. The result is an octopus that is incredibly tender but crisp at the same time.


  • 3-1/2 to 4 pounds baby octopus
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, cut into large dice
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock (page 304 of the book)
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons Wondra flour

Cranberry Bean Salad

  • 1 pound fresh cranberry beans, rinsed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rinsed preserved lemon rind

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 4 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 cups arugula

Prepare the octopus

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the octopus in an 8-quart saucepan, add the kosher salt, and fill with enough cold water to cover the octopus by 2 inches. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat, and then immediately transfer the octopus to a colander in the sink. Discard the salted cooking water. Once cool, cut around the base of the octopus head to separate the head from the rest of the body. Discard the head and cut the tentacles apart and blot the tentacles dry.

Heat a large grill pan over high heat. Brush the tentacles with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and grill the tentacles for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, being sure to get even color on all sides.

While the octopus is grilling, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and fennel and sauté until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, stock, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Transfer the grilled octopus to the wine mixture. Cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven. Cook until the octopus is very tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Cooking times for octopus vary widely, so test the octopus with a paring knife after 1 hour. The octopus should cut easily and be quite tender when done.

Transfer the octopus to a medium bowl with 3 cups of the braising liquid and cool. Discard the remaining braising liquid and vegetables.

Cook the cranberry beans

Place the beans and 5 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are just tender, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the beans aside to cool completely in the liquid. Drain the liquid from the cooled beans and discard the liquid.

Make the vinaigrette

Bring the blood orange juice to a simmer in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the juice is reduced by half then pour the reduced juice into a medium nonreactive bowl. Whisk the reduced juice with the olive oil and Meyer lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the cranberry bean salad

On a grill pan or under a broiler, char the red and yellow peppers until blackened on all sides. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until cool. Peel the peppers and remove the seeds. Slice the peppers into thin strips and toss them in a large bowl with the cooked cranberry beans, the oregano, preserved lemon rind, and 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette.

Fry the octopus

Fill a deep heavy pot with 4 inches of the vegetable oil and heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Remove the octopus from the braising liquid and pat dry. Working in batches, sprinkle the octopus tentacles evenly with the flour and carefully lower the tentacles into the hot oil. Do not crowd the oil. Fry the tentacles until golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the octopus to a plate lined with paper towels, season lightly with salt, and allow the excess oil to drain.

To assemble and serve

Toss the arugula with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the cranberry bean salad onto 6 serving plates. Arrange the fried octopus and arugula over the bean salad and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.

Wine suggestion

Pair this dish wth a crisp Tocai Friulano from the Hudson River Valley with notes of citrus, kiwi, and herbs, such as Tocai Friulano, Millbrook, 2006, Hudson River Valley, New York.

  • from:
    Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking
  • by Laurent Tourondel with Charlotte March
  • Wiley 2010
  • Hardcover; 336 pages; $35.00
  • ISBN-10: 0470402423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-470-40242-9
  • Reprinted by permission.

Buy Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking


Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking


This page created November 2010

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