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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
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking plus cooling, chilling
  • Serves 4 - 6
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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