A Spanish chef once told me that if you put a cork in the pot with the octopus it will help to tenderise it. I have found this mystifying but true. The secret to this recipe is the timing of the dressing - dress the octopus and potatoes while they are still warm and they will absorb the flavours.
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- Approx 3kg of large (50cm) octopus
- Juice of 1-2 lemons
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 800g waxy potatoes
- 2 lebanese cucumbers, sliced thick
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 3 tbsp chopped mint
- 1 tsp paprika
Rinse the octopus, place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add plenty of salt (and a cork if you like) and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain in a colander.
With the octopus still warm, rub the dark skin off the tentacles and discard along with the gut and beak. When cleaned, cut into largish pieces, season and dress with a little lemon juice and oil.
Boil the potatoes in their skins until tender and drain. Peel them while warm and cut into thick slices. In a bowl combine the potato, cucumber, garlic, mint and paprika, season and dress with remaining lemon juice and oil. Add the octopus and mix to combine.
This salad keeps well but I find it is best on the day it is made. Do not spare the mint, lemon juice and olive oil.