Beans, Bread and Baby Octopus

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img_2927-11For the next few posts, you get to enjoy a recap of the Lenten Feast I presented last weekend. Each time I’ll breadown a trio or so of dishes so that you too may prepare and enjoy in the comfort of your own home!

The first of today’s trio is a Black-Eyed Pea Salad. You’ll find black eyed peas in a dried variety or on the shelf of your grocery store among the array of other canned beans and legumes. Much like any other canned legume, canned black-eyed peas are a wonderful convenience product that require only a quick rinse.

This salad is easy to prepare, includes ingredients accessible to most and it’s colourful, delicious and healthy (loaded with iron). In the summertime, try adding some micro-greens like purslane.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad img_2929-1

1 250gr. can of black-eyed peas, rinsed & drained

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 English cucumber, diced

2 scallions, chopped

2-3 radishes, finely diced

1 small bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped

1 small bunch of flat leaf parsely, finely chopped

1 large, ripe tomato, diced

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

sea salt and black pepper to taste

  1. In a large bowl, add your your black-eyed peas along with the remaining chopped vegetables and herbs. If preparing ahead of time, add the tomatoes just before serving and then toss in to incorporate.
  2. Add your olive oil, vinegar and season with salt and pepper according to taste. Toss and serve cool or at room temperature

img_2943The next dish in our first Lenten trio is the Ladenia. Some call it the Greek pizza but it is said the Ladenia has been around long before pizza. Parallel universes or perhaps a pizza in it’s earliest stages? I’l allow the historians to debate that. I’m here to share Greek food – delicious Greek food.

The Ladenia comes from the Greek island of Kimolos, a tiny island near Milos, in the southwest Cyclades. Ladenia has quickly become a family favourite and it’s lighter than your usual pizza, bold tastes of olive oil, onions, tomatoes come through and as long as you have tasty tomatoes on hand, you Ladenia will be a delicious success.

img_2947I first made Ladenia last year and you can view the recipe details here.

The third dish in today’s Lenten trio is “Octopus Ksidato”. Ksidato in Greek refers to a dish where vinegar reigns prominent in a dish. Here, I’ve used some wonderful baby octopus I source from one of my fish mongers.

img_3013Most octopus found in the markets here comes frozen and most are of good quality, cleaned, no ink or beak to tend to or trim. The biggest concern about cooking octopus is assuring that it’s rendered tender – NOT rubbery.

I’ve found the best method to tenderizing an octopus is to place it a pot, cover it and place over high heat. You will soon hear bubbling and gurgling and when you uncover the the pot, you’ll the octopus boiling in it’s own liquid!img_3014

No need to add water, aromatics here…the braising liquid will do all the work. Just reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and braise the octopus in it’s own liquid for about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the size of your octopus).

Check for tenderness by a applying a fork or a knife…it should slide easily through. Finally, I’ve braised many an octopus and I must again recommend adding one one cork into the pot during the braising period.

It is said that their’s an enzyme in the cork that helps to tenderize the octopus  and I believe it. That is not to say your octopus will be tough if you don’t employ the cork method but I’m just sayin’…it will be more tender!

Octopus With Vinegar   (χταπόδι ξιδάτο)

1 -1 1/2 lb. of octopus (I used baby octopus)img_3015

extra-virgin olive oil

red wine viengar

fresh ground pepper

dried Greek oregano or thyme

  1. Place your octopus in a pot along with a wine cork and cover and place over high heat. After you hear the liquid release and boil for about 5 minutes, reduce to medium-low and braise the octopus in it’s own liquid for about 45-60 minutes.
  2. Remove the octopus from the liquid and if a large octopus, cut up into bite sized pieces.
  3. Place in a bowl and add some extra-virgin olive oil, some red wine vinegar, fresh black pepper and some dried Greek oregano or thyme.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

© 2009 – 2012,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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45 Comments for “Beans, Bread and Baby Octopus”


Peter, you are always spot on. The photography is beautiful and you’ve sorely tempted me to try your “pizza.” Hope all is well…Mary


Those first two look excellent. You know me though… the fish heads and the tentacles, I just can’t do! They look so… ‘squirmy!’ I’m sure you made those delicious too though.


I would love to try the baby octopus. I love calimari, so there’s no reason not to try this. I can only imagine how wonderful your home smelled while all of these wonderful dishes were cooking!


Just beautiful. Your photos and your food. Suddenly I’m back on the Mediterranean, miles away from this icy NY morning. Thanks! :)


Phew! There was a fair amount of food in this post. The black eye pea salad looks delicious, the ladenia is there to be eaten (I agree leave the so called food historians debate its origins) and thanks for the tips on the octopus…I def will try them.


Three excellent dishes, Peter! They all looks mouthwatering! Your bean salad is so colorful and inviting. The Ladenia looks spectacular! I make my “pizza” like this at home a lot, with just a sprinkle of pecorino cheese. I’ve never made octopus on my own, but I enjoy it very much. I’ll have to give it a try.


That is the single-most gorgeous Black-Eyed Pea Salad I have ever seen. Fantastic trio here—each dish brings something unique and tasty to the table. Nicely done, Peter!


I’m totally loving that pizza Peter. I tried octopuss once and hated it. Maybe it wasn’t done right, but it tasted like over-cooked gummi bears. lol


This is going to be great to read all about those dish you had. I made the rice that you served with the Roast Chicken and I have to say that the boys said it was the best rice they had in a while. Thanks for your delicious recipes Peter.


my friend, ya had me smitten, all the way until i reached the octopi. they look like little aliens to me, and grace don’t eat aliens. :) the salad is AWESOME though. colorful and full of beany goodness.


The salad for me would be a perfectly balanced meal…Lovely!! As for the delicious octopus…tempting, very tempting!!


I’m really wanting some of the octopus right now. I bought shrimp today and am thinking it should have been octopus instead.


These all look and sound wonderful. Short of driving 3 hours to Chicago I don’t suppose we’ll find octopus anywhere around here so I may have to wait awhile on that, but everything else will turn up on our table soon. Hubby made your stuffed red peppers with a touch of mint last night —— outstanding!!!! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas you share with us.


Great alliteration in your title! That black eyed pea salad is delicious! I’ve not tried it with micro greens; I’ll have to give that a go next time! That pizza is perfect with the onions and tomato; I bet it’s a real crowd pleaser. Octopus is something that I’d love to try. How cool that it gives off enough liquid to braise itself! Wonderful post!


Love the salad and the octopus looks very intriguing. Supposedly we have them here? Might try and get my hands on some…


Everything looks yummy! But the salad caught my eye in your 24/24/24 post. All those lovely ingredients and the colours are just fantastic. A great job!!


I just set up my stuff to make a pizza dough for saturday(margherita.. recipe instructed to keep it 3 days in the fridge for tang), but I was planning on a quick one for my kids tonight. Am i glad I visited you or not!

I’ll do this greek topping ( the base sounds the same).. & wil llet u know. don’t know if i cn take pics as i am at the mercy of sunlight. Thanks!!


Thanks for the tips on preparing octopus… as you might be able to tell, I LOVE octopus and squid! I order them whenever a restaurant has them on the menu, but I’ve never prepared them myself. This really simplifies it!


I did not know this way to tenderize an octopus. I will try it. I do this with big sea salt about 15 minutes on raw octopus and after I “wash” and cook them.
Your salad is so simple: I really like it!



oh God, don’t u find it too cruel to kill those poor baby octos. ? how wud u feel if octos. fried yur babies like that , u carnivores ?


msd: you have to realize they are babies so their pain receptors are not as finely tuned as an adult. I jabbing to them may just feel like a dull pinch. Plus they never really got to experience a good life so they have no clue what they are missing out on. Seriously how good can an octopus’ life be ohh…look more water. They don’t get to see skyscrapers, cars, drunk chicks at last call, or anything fun.

Peter brother as always awesome job and I love that trolling blog comments is the new hotness. Reasons like this is why I decided to moderate first time people commenting.


Never a disappointment here, Peter! I agree with everyone that the salad looks *incredible*. As for frying baby octopi… ;) That sounds and looks fantastic. I’ve only ever had them raw in sushi bars (and they were spankin’ good there too!) xxoo



All this worry over the baby octopi, did ANYONE consider the feeling’s of the tomatoes??? Yea I didn’t think so…

Looks delish Peter.



I’m surprised you didn’t think consider the pain caused by cutting a tomato off its stem. But then of course, you’re probably the sensitive one who only eats fruit and nuts that dropped off the tree by apoptosis, aren’t you?