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Octopus, frisée and fennel salad with lardons and lentil dressing

This octopus, frisée and fenne salad is super versatile - take it in whatever direction suits your mood.

By Lisa Featherby
  • Serves 4 - 6
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking plus cooling, chilling
Octopus, frisée and fennel salad with lardons and lentil dressing

For an even simpler version, leave out the octopus and add crisp croûtons instead. Or try it with a poached egg. Or seared scallops.


  • 1 kg octopus tentacles
  • 130 gm mild pancetta, or streaky bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 head frisée, leaves separated
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly shaved, fronds reserved for garnish (optional)
  • Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
Lentil dressing
  • 120 gm small green lentils (½ cup)
  • 125 ml mild-flavoured extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing (½ cup)
  • 1½ tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 golden shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve


  • 1
    Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add octopus, bring back to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until octopus is tender (50 minutes to 1 hour). Drain, cool, then refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).
  • 2
    For lentil dressing, boil lentils in a large saucepan until tender (15-20 minutes), then drain. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a bowl, add warm lentils, toss to combine and season to taste.
  • 3
    Fry lardons in a small frying pan, stirring occasionally, until fat renders, and lardons are crisp and golden brown (5-6 minutes). Keep warm.
  • 4
    Heat a char-grill pan over high heat (or a barbecue). Brush octopus with oil and grill, turning once, until charred all over (2-3 minutes). Chop while still warm and transfer to a bowl. Add lentil dressing, lardons and a little rendered fat from the pan to taste, then add frisée, fennel, lemon juice to taste, fennel fronds and parsley, season to taste, toss to combine and serve.


Drink Suggestion: Tangy chenin blanc. Drink suggestion by Max Allen