Seafood Salad


Fresh octopus, mussels, clams, and squid come together in this traditional Italian seafood salad appetizer from Esca chef David Pasternack.


  • 1 (2 ½ pound) octopus, head on, cleaned

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 rib celery, cut crosswise into thirds, plus ½ cup very thinly sliced celery

  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut crosswise into 3 even pieces

  • ½ small white onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • ¾ cup dry white wine

  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded

  • 2 pounds Manila clams

  • 1 pound large (4- to 5-inch) squid, cut into rings with heads

  • 2 cups thinly sliced radicchio

  • 1 large red onion, very thinly sliced

  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup red-wine vinegar

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Place octopus in a large stockpot with garlic, 1 rib celery, carrot, white onion, bay leaf, and wine. Add 3 to 4 wine corks to pot to tenderize octopus. Place a lid smaller than the pot in the pot to keep octopus from floating and add enough water to cover by 3 to 4 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat; immediately reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, until octopus is completely tender and easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, adding water as necessary to keep covered. Drain octopus, reserving cooking liquid, and set aside to cool.

  2. Transfer 1/4 cup reserved octopus cooking liquid to a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Add mussels and place over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until mussels open. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mussels to a large bowl and set aside.

  3. Add clams to saucepan with cooking liquid; cover and cook over medium-high heat until clams have opened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with mussels; set aside. Add squid to saucepan; cover and cook over medium-high heat until squid is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer squid and cooking liquid to bowl with mussels and clams; set aside.

  4. Slice tentacles of cooled octopus on the bias into 1-inch pieces and thinly slice body; add to bowl with mussels, clams, and squid. Add radicchio, thinly sliced celery, red onion, parsley, olive oil, and vinegar to bowl with seafood; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Let stand 2 hours; serve at room temperature.

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