Grilled Octopus Salad (Insalata di Polipo)
- 16 ounces cleaned octopus with heads removed (about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds uncleaned)
- 2 cups full-bodied red wine, such as Chianti or Sangiovese
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cloves unpeeled garlic, crushed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lime, juiced
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 bunch mint, stems removed, leaves torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped green olives, preferably Cerignola (available at specialty olive bars)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 endives with core removed, julienned
- 3 cups julienned radicchio leaves
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas or gigante beans
Put the octopus in a pot with the wine and enough cold water to cover. Add the onions, carrots, celery, thyme, and bay leaf; bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat and cook until opaque, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the octopus with a slotted spoon and cool. (This may be done a day ahead and refrigerated in a covered bowl.)
Preheat a charcoal or gas grill until hot. Position the rack about 5 to 6 inches from the heat.
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, mint leaves, and green olives in the jar of a blender and puree into a smooth emulsion. Alternatively, whisk these ingredients together in a small bowl for a chunkier texture. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and set aside. Toss the endive, radicchio, and chickpeas together in a salad bowl and set aside.
Grill the octopus for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once after 2 to 3 minutes, until it is browned in spots and nicely caramelized but not burned. Remove and cut into bite-size pieces. 0054oss with the greens and vinaigrette, divide among 4 plates, and serve.