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Minty Portuguese Style Octopus Salad

When we were in Portugal, we ate some version of octopus salad everywhere we went. Some had tomato and onion, some were just bowls of chopped octopus, doused with copious amounts of olive oil, vinegar and herbs and others were brightened with lots of cilantro and lemon juice. I don't think I could even pick a favourite if I tried, but, if you put a gun to my head, I might say that it was the octopus salad we ate at Ponto Finale (check that meal out here ).

When I don't have the time or inclination to cook and prepare my own octopus, I buy a few chunks of cooked octopus in olive oil from my favourite little Italian grocery store and use that. This is a typical dinner for The Kid and I when we are on our own - just add some crusty bread and a green salad (and a frosty glass of rose for me) and you have got yourself the perfect summer meal and you never had to turn on a stove or do anything more strenuous than chop a tomato.

Although I do love it with cilantro, for a change I thought I would use some basil and mint from my garden, remembering how much I loved an tuna conserve dish I ate at Bar Raval .The biggest surprise was the unexpected hit of mint hiding there in my first forkful. If it works with tuna in oil, I figured it would also be beautiful with octopus marinated in oil and I was right.

 Minty Portuguese Style Octopus Salad

if you are not lucky enough to live near an Italian or Portuguese grocery store that sells cooked octopus in oil at their deli counter, find some good quality canned octopus and use that.

serves 2 or 3 as an appetizer


approx 75 g cooked octopus marinated in oil, sliced into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup finey diced tomato
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, grated on a rasp
about 1 scant tbls of chopped, fresh basil
1 heaping tbls chopped, fresh mint
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil (use the best quality oil you have)
1 tbls white balsamic vinegar or other mild white vinegar like rice wine or champagne
pinch kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper


Mix everything together in a bowl, cover and let sit at least 15 or 20 minutes at room temperature. If you are not going to eat it right away, store it in the fridge and let it sit out for 15 minutes before you serve it.

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