Octopus Salpicón with Peppers, Capers, and Lemon

Rate this recipe


Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Amor y Tacos

Amor y Tacos

By Deborah Schneider

Published 2010

  • About

Coastal fishing pueblos often make colorful salpicóns from fresh seafood mixed with onions and chiles, rather than the traditional shredded meat, the style becoming popular throughout Mexico. This salpicón is very pretty, with colorful peppers and strips of red onion in a fresh lemon vinaigrette with slices of sweet, octopus.


  • 1 small octopus (about 2 pounds, see note)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 small serrano chile, thinly sliced in rings
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peppery extra-virgin olive oil, such as arbequina
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2–3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 fresh corn tostadas
  • 1 avocado, diced


  1. Several hours before serving, cook the octopus: If it is frozen, thaw it under cold running water. Rinse fresh octopus well in cold water. Place it in a 4-quart saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until the tip of a sharp knife inserted where the tentacle meets the head goes in easily. When tender, transfer it to an ice bath. Drain.
  2. Combine the red onion, bell peppers, and serrano in a bowl with the capers, oregano, garlic, black pepper, olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice.
  3. Cut the octopus tentacles into slices less than ¼ inch thick, until you have about 1 cup. Combine with the pepper mixture. Taste for lemon juice or salt. The salpicón is ready to serve; you may cover and refrigerate it for up to 1 hour. Stir well before serving.
  4. Place a generous spoonful on a tostada, topped with some diced avocado and a sprinkle of salt. Offer more lemon wedges on the side.

To Serve

Lemon wedges