Clayton’s Octopus Salad

Eating octopus can be a little daunting if you’ve never tried it before. Trust me, we’ve all been in your shoes the first time we tried octopus (unless you grew up eating it). I remember the first time that my husband, Clayton, an avid octopus lover, insisted I try it and being so nervous! All I could imagine is that bobbly, alien looking, tentacled creature in the ocean and I just couldn’t imagine liking the texture of such a thing. I was very wrong. Octopus is absolutely delightful when cooked properly and now that I love it, I nearly *always* order it when I see it on the menu which is why we decided to create Clayton’s Octopus Salad.

Clayton's Octopus Salad

The first time we attempted to make octopus in our own kitchens, we were super intimidated. Coming home with a raw, cleaned octopus from the grocery store for the first time is one of those scary moments in the kitchen. Since I had never cooked it before, I went to one of my favorite websites, Serious Eats, to see if there was a good grilled octopus recipe. I came across this recipe, Clayton and I made it and loved it, and we’ve been an octopus cooking couple ever since. 

Clayton's Octopus Salad

You’ll find that our recipe really uses the technique that Serious Eats starts off using. We’ve just added our own touches over the years to turn it into this absolutely incredible Octopus Salad. And by “we” I mean Clayton and I. I usually do the first half of the recipe on the stovetop then hand it over to him. He is the one that came up with the fun twist to the recipe and turned it into this incredible salad. 

Clayton's Octopus Salad

So, if you are an octopus lover or wanting to try something new, I challenge you to try making Clayton’s Octopus Salad recipe! It’s absolutely delicious. 


Clayton's Octopus Salad

Clayton's Octopus Salad
Serves: 4 people
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
chilling time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish


To Braise the octopus:

  • 3 lbs octopus, cleaned
  • 1 cup dry white wine + the wine cork *see notes
  • 1 whole lemon, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns

For the Salad:

  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ,or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt ,or more to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice about 1 lemon


To Braise the octopus:

  • Place the octopus, wine + the cork, halved lemon, garlic and peppercorns in a dutch oven or soup pot. Add water to the pot until the octopus is just covered by about 1 inch. Over medium high heat, bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the octopus is tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Drain the octopus (discard all of the braising contents other than the octopus itself) and set the octopus aside allow it to cool to room temperature before grilling, about 20 minutes.

Make the Grilled Salad:

  • Drizzle the bell peppers and onions with olive oil and sprinkle with a little kosher salt.
  • When your grill is hot, oil the grilling grate and place the vegetables and whole octopus on the grill. Grill until octopus begins to char but still remains moist, about 3-4 minutes per side. Grill the vegetables until tender, but not soggy you'll still want them to have a subtle crunch, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer grilled vegetables to a cutting board and dice vegetables into small pieces. Cut octopus into 1/4 inch rounds. Using the head is completely up to you. It tastes the same and you can cut it into 1/4 inch pieces. Transfer everything to a large bowl. 
  • Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt. Add the parsley, garlic, and lemon juice. Stir to combine all flavors. Transfer to the fridge and let chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve and enjoy!


*Okay, so yeah. The wine cork in the braising liquid may seem odd. But word on the street is that high content of the tannin from the cork makes the octopus tender. This could be total hog-wash and it probably does nothing. So don't sweat over including this part, but if you have it, go ahead and try it! 


  • Reply
    April 1, 2021 at 12:41 am

    Is there another method besides grilling – or is it not the same without a grill? Thanks!

    • Reply
      April 6, 2021 at 12:17 am

      The grilling does of course add flavor– but you could sear it in a cast iron skillet or grill pan!

  • Reply
    Jamie Gerhardt
    October 19, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    So my Central Market has “cooked octopus” legs that are now frozen. Once I defrost, should I skip the braising process and go straight to grilling? So excited to try!

    • Reply
      July 31, 2022 at 11:53 pm

      That’s what I’ve done, and it worked just the same…😊👍🏽

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