Pulpoala Parilla


For the vinaigrette

  • 1/3 Cup  lemon juice
  • 1 Cup  soy oil
  • 1 Tablespoon  oregano
  •   Salt and pepper, to taste

For the cactus salad

  •   4-5 medium-sized cactus paddles
  •   Salt, to taste
  • 1/2  red onion, chopped finely
  • pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4  bunch cilantro, chopped finely
  • 1/2 Pound  queso fresco, diced finely

For the black olive caramel

  • 1 Cup  sugar
  • 1/2 Cup  sherry vinegar
  • 1 Cup  Kalamata olives, pitted

For the octopus

  • quarts water
  • 3 Tablespoons  pickling spice
  • 1 Teaspoon  salt
  • 1 Teaspoon  chile flakes
  • lemon, halved
  • 1 Pound  Spanish or Portuguese octopus
  •   Vegetable oil, for grilling
  •   Salt and pepper, to taste

If you haven't thought about serving octopus before, here's your chance to do so. Using a smaller octopus means more tender results in less time, so forget all the chewy renditions you've had before; this elegant appetizer is sure to impress.


For the vinaigrette

In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients and set aside.

For the cactus salad

Be careful cleaning the cactus since some of the thorns are very little. Grab them with a towel and clean with a knife, going against the thorns. Cut around the edges of the cactus to make sure there are no thorns left. Discard the first ½-inch of the bottom, since this part is too thick and flavorless.

Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepot over high heat. Add the cactus and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain in a colander set over a bowl for about 1 hour to allow some of the excess liquid to drain out.

Dice the cactus and combine with the onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and queso fresco. Toss well with the lemon-oregano vinaigrette and season with salt, to taste.

For the black olive caramel

Cook the sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it becomes caramel, stirring constantly. Add the sherry and stir to make syrup, then add the black olives and let them simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender, process, and strain. Set aside.

For the octopus

In a large pot, combine the water, pickling spice, salt, chile flakes, and lemon, and bring to a boil over high heat. Then, add the octopus and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the water and let cool. Discard the head and then slice the tentacles into thirds (about 2 ½ inch pieces), then slice in half.

Preheat a grill to 400 degrees. Brush the octopus with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place the octopus on the grill and quickly grill for 1 minute on each side.

Serve the octopus on top of the cactus salad. Drizzle the black olive caramel on top.

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