Traditional Spanish Octopus Picadillo

Josu Zubikarai


This wonderfully fresh octopus picadillo, made in the traditional Spanish style, is an homage to quality ingredients and simple preparation.

Traditional Spanish Octopus Picadillo 03:24

Josu Zubikarai

This wonderfully fresh octopus picadillo, made in the traditional Spanish style, is an homage to quality ingredients and simple preparation.

Prep Time Cook Time Total Time Serving Size

The Steps

  1. 1. Add 4 tablespoons of the white onion, 6 tablespoons of the green bell pepper, and 8 tablespoons of the red bell pepper to a medium bowl. 00:30

  2. 2. Add a 1/4 cup of sherry wine vinegar and 1 cup of olive oil to the bowl of chopped vegetables. Stir the ingredients together; add salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. 01:00

  3. 3. Add 1 cup of boiled and sliced octopus and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley. Stir the ingredients to combine. 01:55

  4. 4. Let the ingredients marinate for one hour. 02:30

  5. 5. To plate, use two spoons to remove the ingredients from the bowl. Use the spoons to help drain most of the liquid back into the medium bowl, and place the mostly drained octopus mixture on to the plate. Garnish with 1 tablespoon of microgreens. 02:30

What You'll Need


- Medium bowl
- Large pot
- Cutting board
- Spoons (2) 


- White onion, peeled and medium diced (4 tablespoons)
- Green bell pepper, peeled and medium diced (6 tablespoons)
- Red bell pepper, peeled and medium diced (8 tablespoons)
- Sherry wine vinegar (1/4 cup)
- Olive oil (1 cup)
- Octopus, boiled and sliced (1 cup)*
- Parsley, chopped (1 tablespoon) 

- Microgreens (1 tablespoon, optional)*
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper

 *See Chef Notes for more information.

Chef Notes

For the boiled octopus, simply add the octopus to a large pot and cover it with water and salt. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 1 to 3 hours. The size of the octopus dictates how long it should be cooked. When the octopus is done it should be very tender, and easily pierced with a fork. For more information on how to prepare octopus, visit Chef Vartan Abgaryan's tutorial "How to Cook Octopus."

Octopus has many trade secrets associated with its tenderization, and these strategies differ widely from region to region. In Greece, octopus is beaten against rocks near the seashore. In Japan, octopi often have salt beaten into them with large daikon radishes which serve as clubs. In Italy, octopus is boiled in wine, and many Italians swear that the true secret of a tender octopus revolves around adding the cork of the wine bottle into the boiling mixture.

The recipe calls for the picadillo to marinate for one hour, but the mixture does well to marinate longer and can even be stored overnight. While it is not totally necessary to marinate the picadillo, it allows for the oil to become flavored and for the ingredients to marry.

Picadillo comes from the Spanish word “picar” which means to mince or chop. Almost all Latin American countries have a version of this dish, and the boundaries for what is considered a “picadillo’ are very loose.

Microgreens make for a nice presentation of this dish, but they are not integral to the overall flavor.


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Taught by


Chef Josu Zubikarai

Washington DC

Josu Zubikarai is the executive chef of SER in Arlington, Virginia, where he serves Spanish comfort foods from a mo... read more