Chef's Recipes

Bodega's pork and octopus salad

Bodega chefs Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate describe this pork and octopus salad as "textual heaven".

By Elvis Abrahanowicz & Ben Milgate
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 5 hrs cooking (plus chilling)
  • Serves 8
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Pork and octopus salad
"Textural heaven," say Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate. 


  • 3 pig's ears, trimmed, hair removed, rinsed in cold water (see note)
  • 80 gm fine sea salt 1 octopus (about 700gm), cleaned Vegetable oil, for deep-frying (1/3 cup)
  • ¼ Savoy cabbage, finely sliced on a mandolin
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into julienne
  • 50 gm toasted pumpkin seeds (1/3 cup)
  • 1 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds
Tomatillo dressing
  • 80 gm drained canned tomatillos (see note)
  • ¼ pickled jalapeño chilli, plus 2 tsp pickling liquor
  • ½ small garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp lime juice


  • 1
    Place pig's ears in a saucepan with 2 litres cold water and half the salt, bring to a rolling boil, cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until ears are very tender but still intact; skin and cartilage should break apart when gently pressed (4-5 hours). Drain, pat dry with paper towels, place on a tray and refrigerate until chilled (1-2 hours). Cut into thin strips and refrigerate until required.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, bring 2 litres water and remaining salt to 80C in a saucepan over low heat, add octopus and poach gently until tender, with skin and flesh still intact (40-50 minutes). Transfer octopus to an iced water bath to chill completely, then drain. Slice head from body and reserve, and remove and discard beak. Slice into individual tentacles, then refrigerate head and tentacles until required.
  • 3
    For tomatillo dressing, process ingredients in a blender to a fine purée, then refrigerate until required.
  • 4
    Heat oil in a large saucepan to 175C. Pat pig's ears dry thoroughly with paper towels then deep-fry in very small batches until brown and crisp (3-5 minutes; be careful, oil will sputter and spit – use a splatter guard if you have one). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  • 5
    Thinly slice octopus tentacles, and halve and cut the head into thin strips. Combine in a bowl with pig's ears, cabbage, radish, apple, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, drizzle with tomatillo dressing, toss to combine and serve.


Pig's ears will need to be ordered ahead from select butchers. Remove hair with a razor or blowtorch. Canned tomatillos are available from select delicatessens, Monterey Foods ( and Fireworks Foods ( 
Drink Suggestion: Spanish cider Drink suggestion by Joe Valore