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Octopus, Potato and Green Bean Salad

(Serves 4)
Octopus, Potato, and Green Bean Salad
Octopus, Potato, and Green Bean Salad

8 medium octopus tentacles
2 teaspoons salt
2 slices fresh lemon
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
Chives for garnish (optional)

Lemon Emulsion Dressing:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper


Put the octopus tentacles in a medium stockpot, and cover with water.Add the salt and lemon slices and boil for at least 1-1/2 hours, or until tender. To test for tenderness, slide a knife into one of the tentacles; it should slide into the flesh with ease.  If not, cook for another 15 minutes or so.  Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside to cool slightly.  Cut the tentacles into bite-sized pieces; place in a large bowl.

Put the potatoes in another saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook, 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are  tender.  Remove from the heat, drain, and add to the bowl with the octopus.

Put the green beans in another saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook, 5-6 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
Remove from the heat, drain, and add to the bowl with the octopus and potatoes.

Make the lemon emulsion dressing, add it to the octopus mixture and gently fold in the dressing.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Serve chilled with optional chive garnish.

To make the lemon emulsion dressing:
Place lemon juice, mustard, and garlic in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Blend until combined. With the blender or processor running, slowly add olive oil until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the parsley, salt and pepper and blend just to combine.
Octopus is one of those foods that people either love or, because of it's appearance, just can't stand the thought of eating it.  But when octopus is well prepared it can turn anyone into an octopus lover.
In this recipe, which is from Sardinia, the lemon emulsion dressing is what beautifully compliments the octopus, potatoes, and green beans and brings the dish together. The salad makes a perfect appetizer, cold lunch or dinner.  You can usually buy octopus frozen in seafood or Italian markets but you may also substitute cooked shrimp, calamari, or mixed seafood for the octopus.
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