marinated octopus with fresh fennel and oregano

I adore octopus but have always been too intimidated to try it at home. It is often a dish I order at a Greek or Spanish restaurant; the marinated octopus absorbs so much flavor from the oils and herbs - just irresistible with a good chunk of fresh bread to soak up the juices. When at a fresh seafood counter, I noticed two beautiful raw tails of octopus. I decided to try my hand at octopus in the pressure cooker, which was surprisingly easy and quick. This salad took no more than 25 minutes to prepare, and was a delicious and fresh meal to kick off the spring. I would recommend serving with a white wine such as an Albarino or an Italian white from the Piedmont region.

  • Octopus tail (2 large whole tails, raw and cleaned)

  • Green lettuce (1 large head, chopped)

  • Fennel (1 large bulb, thinly sliced)

  • Cucumber (1 whole cucumber, chopped)

  • Tomato (1 vine-ripened, chopped)

  • Red onion (1 small, thinly sliced)

  • Kalamata olives (1/2 cup, pits removed and chopped)

  • Feta cheese (1/2 cup, crumbled)

  • Lemon zest (1 teaspoon)

  • Lemon juice (2 teaspoons)

  • Dried oregano (1 and 1/2 teaspoons)

  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)

  • Sea salt (1 and 1/2 teaspoons)

  • Ground black pepper (1/2 teaspoon)

  1. Unwrap the raw octopus and place in the bottom of a pressure cooker. Cover with just enough water to submerge the octopus.

  2. Set up the pressure cooker with top on and secure. Set to high pressure and turn heat on high on the stove.

  3. When pressure is reached, turn heat down to low and let cook for 12 minutes. Steam will emerge from the opening at the top of the pressure cooker as the octopus cooks.

  4. When cooking time is up, release pressure and remove octopus with tongs to a cutting board to cool.

  5. When cool enough to handle, rinse the octopus under cold water to remove the external soggy layer of skin. The octopus should be mostly white in color with some residual purple tone. Chop and set aside.

  6. In a large mixing bowl, add the lettuce, fennel, cucumber, tomato, onion, olives, and feta.

  7. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice, dried oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper until fully emulsified. Add the dressing to the large bowl of salad ingredients.

  8. Add the chopped octopus to the salad and toss gently until evenly coated.

  9. Taste and ensure proper seasoning. Add more salt if needed.

  10. Let sit for 15 minutes so that octopus can absorb the dressing and oils, then serve.