Octopus, runner bean & potato salad with eggs

by Luke Robinson


1 small piece of daikon radish
1 double sucker octopus (around 1kg)
1 onion
1 large stick of celery
1 large carrot
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
10 black peppercorns
250ml red wine

For the olive dressing:
50g black olives, pitted
5 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove
Juice of ½ lemon
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

For the runner bean and potato salad:
300g small new potatoes
200g runner beans
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g cherry tomatoes, halved   
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
A small handful of basil leaves
Juice of ½ lemon
2 baby gem lettuces, outer leaves peeled, halved and washed
3 eggs, as fresh as you can get them, boiled for 6 mins and chilled in ice water


Cut the daikon radish in half and rub it over the octopus, massaging the tentacles. The juices will help to soften the meat. You can also put a cork in the cooking liquor, to the same effect.

Place the octopus in a large saucepan and add the onion, celery, carrots, herbs and peppercorns. Pour in the wine and enough cold water to cover and slowly bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 45-55 mins, or until the octopus is cooked.

Allow the octopus to cool in the stock, then remove to a board, taking care as the skin is delicate and can rub off.

To make the dressing, tip the olives, anchovies and garlic into a mortar and mash with the pestle until you have a very rough paste. Scrape into a bowl, stir in the lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar, then set aside to marinate.

To make the salad, cook the potatoes in boiling water for 15 mins until tender, then drain and set aside. Cook the beans in boiling salted water for 4-5 mins, until tender with a slight crunch. Drain the beans, tip into iced water, then drain again, cut into diamonds and set aside.

Halve the potatoes and heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Place the potatoes cut-side down in the pan and sizzle for about 4 mins until golden and crisp. Toss the potatoes in the pan to brown on all sides, then turn up the heat and add the octopus tentacles, cut into pieces. Fry on both sides till hot and crispy. Add the tomatoes and fry for 1 min, until just starting to blister. Season. Splash in 1 tbsp of the white wine vinegar, then turn off the heat and scatter over the basil leaves.

Whisk the remaining oil and vinegar with the lemon juice in a small bowl and toss in the lettuce wedges. Place a spoonful of olive dressing into 2 serving bowls, arrange the potatoes, octopus and tomatoes over, then put a pile of beans on top. Wedge the lettuce around the outside, halve the peeled eggs and position in between the lettuce. Plate a small spoonful of olive dressing on each egg.

Recipe: Luke Robinson