1 kilogram large octopus tentacles
quality Spanish sweet paprika
quality Spanish hot paprika
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
This recipe comes from a friend of mine; Maria. She is from the beautiful coastal region of Galicia in the North West of Spain. The area is bountiful in many types of delicious seafood and the local’s diet and Maria’s repertoire clearly represents this. Her seafood recipes are amazing and the stories she tells of her upbringing eating all the wonderful local specialties always makes my mouth water.
One such dish that had me salivating when she first told me about it was this one; Pulpo a’la Gallega. Unfortunately when I make it, I break a cardinal rule and serve it on a normal plate as opposed to the traditional wooden plate. I don’t think she has yet forgiven me and I am now looking to find an appropriate plate to serve it to her properly and hopefully set things right again as I am addicted to her seafood recipes and until then she has told me I am cut off.
What I love most about traditional recipes like this one is their sheer simplicity. Making this recipe for the first time I was very tempted to add, lemon zest, parsley, garlic and all sorts of ingredients to make it a little more exciting. Thankfully I didn’t give in as the dish is absolutely perfect the way it is, and as it has been for centuries, plus then I would’ve been cut off from her recipes for ever. Enjoy.
- If the octopus is fresh, freeze it until frozen.
- Place the octopus in the fridge the night before preparing it, in order to allow it to defrost for cooking.
- Fill the large pot ¾’s with salted water and bring to the boil.
- Leaving the heat on high, place the octopus into the water and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove the octopus from the water.
- Slice the tentacles into 1 cm (½ inch) thick pieces. Slice them a little thicker as you get to the thinner parts of the tentacles.
- Arrange on a wooden plate.
- Season liberally with both paprikas.
- Season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle with olive oil.
- Finish by drizzling with a little of the poaching water.
- Serve with tooth picks in a few pieces of the octopus.