Octopus salad is one of the most delicious representatives of Croatian cuisine. Seasoned with homemade olive oil and red wine vinegar with a dash of salt and fresh grated black pepper, makes this salad vibrant and refreshing.
As for many dishes, this one also has many combinations. I make mine simple to indulge the octopus flavor to the fullest. Other variants have additions of boiled potatoes or tomatoes. When you visit Croatia, don’t forget to try in many restaurants on Dalmatian coast. In the meanwhile, prepare it yourself! The taste will transfer you to a terrace somewhere on the Adriatic, watching the sunset and enjoying a glass of white wine 😉
1 previously frozen octopus
1/2 red onion, cut in small cubes
2 tbsp capers
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful green/black olives
salt and black pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil to taste
red wine vinegar to taste
2-3 bay leaves
Put the octopus into a large pot of water along with bay leaves and wine cork and bring to a boil. The wine cork will ensure tenderness of the octopus.
Once it boils, lower the temperature to medium-low and cover the pot. Cook the octopus until tender, depending on its size.
Cooked and cooled octopus chop in small bite size pieces.
Place the octopus on a serving plate and add capers, olives, onion and garlic.
Season with salt, pepper, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Mix well. I like plenty of olive oil for dunking the bread 😃
Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite bread. This salad goes perfectly with bruschetta, garlic bread or focaccia! If you like, garnish with finely chopped parsley.
This is one of those dishes that you make from what you find in the fridge! Fresh seasonable vegetables make this cold pasta salad a perfect lunch or dinner during spring and summer.
I love to use macaroni or penne pasta for these salads, but there are some other fun pasta shapes that would be perfect, like farfalle, cavatelli or rotini. You can make your own unique salad each time changing pasta types and vegetables 😃
250 g (2 1/2 cup) pasta of your choice
100 g (3/4 cup) gauda/cheddar cheese diced or grated
100 g (3/4 cup) cooked ham diced or grated
1 medium tomato, cut in cubes
1 medium cucumber, cut in cubes
1 medium red pepper, cut in cubes
2 spring onions ( leave green parts for garnish)
125 ml (1/2 cup) Greek yogurt or sour cream
125 ml (1/2 cup) mayonnaise
salt and black pepper to taste
Cook pasta as per instructions on the package.
Cut all ingredients and place them in the large bowl.
Mix in cooked pasta with chopped ingredients.
Season with salt and pepper.
At the end mix in yogurt and mayonnaise.
Cool in the fridge before serving.
Before serving, garnish with green parts of spring onions.
This salad is also perfect for parties, BBQ or potlucks!
Do not let the title fool you – this fine salad has absolutely nothing to do with France. The secret lies in the fact that the French salad is called Russian salad (salade russe) in France. If you look around in their culinary dictionary under that name, you will find recipes that have approximately the same ingredients as French salad Croatians make. Now let see what the Russians have to say about it…
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For Russians, this salad has – you guessed it – a different name. It’s called “Salad Olivier“, named after the chef who created it in the 1860s. Lucien Olivier was a chef at the renowned restaurant, “Hermitage”, in Moscow. Shortly after Lucien created it, this salad has become the most recognizable restaurant dish. Its recipe was a strictly guarded treasure, and even to this day we do not know how this popular appetizer was really done. What we do know is that it contained veal tongue, caviar, lettuce, pieces of lobster, capers, small cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs and soy beans.
At the turn of the 19th/20th century, one of Olivier’s assistant chefs tried to get a hold of the recipe. At one occasion while the chef was gone, Ivan Ivanov, his assistant chef, took some of the dressing and realized what was the secret recipe made of. After that, he went to work in the competitive restaurant “Moscow”, where he served a surprisingly similar salad. After that, Ivan has even sold the recipe to some publishers and salad began to gain popularity. The result of its popularization was a change of ingredients – everything that was seasonal or expensive was replaced by more affordable ingredients and little by little, the “French” salad as we know it today came into existence.
This version was obligatory dish at ceremonies in Soviet Russia (especially on New Year’s celebrations) because all required ingredients were available in the middle of winter. In addition to Russia, it is a common guest on tables in Iran (where they add chicken bits) and in Spain and Portugal.