Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Octopus)

My littlest sister, Jessica came home for a few days today, so I decided to cook up something Spanish for her, Spain being where I live.  I absolutely LOVE this dish!

What You Need

Octopus (Pulpo)


Olive Oil


Paprika (Sweet or Spicy)

Large pan




How You Do It

Most important thing first – Octopus!  Make sure you buy a lovely, fresh one from your fishmonger/supermarket and ask them to take out the ink sac!  When you get it home, wash it thoroughly, paying attention to its little suckers on its legs.  With regards to quantity, I bought about half a kilo today and that was plenty for four of us as a starter.  If you get a big octopus I recommend freezing it for a minimum of 24 hours before you want to cook it.  This will help to make it more tender.  Just make sure you defrost it before cooking!  Baby Octopus, like I used today, don’t really require you to freeze them first.

So, you’ve got your fabulous, clean, (defrosted), ink free octopus.  Now you need to cook it!  Take your large pan and put plenty water in it – enough to cover the octopus – then bring it to the boil.  Once the water is bubbling away, pick up your octopus by its head using a pair of kitchen tongs.  Dunk it THREE times in the boiling water.  You will notice the legs immediately curl up and it changes colour slightly.  After the third dunk, drop it in the water and cover.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave it to cook.  The half kilo I cooked today took 30 minutes.  It’s important not to overcook it as it will be really tough and rubbery.  If its undercooked it will be gelatinous, so keep an eye on it and prick it to test if it’s done.

Whilst the octopus is bubbling away, peel your spuds and chop them up into equal sized chunks.  Set them to boil in salted water and drain once cooked.




Once the octopus is cooked, take it out of the water and leave it to drain and cool slightly so as you can handle it.  You then need to slice it.  Start with the legs and work your way inwards.  This is the easiest way.  You can eat the head, although some people don’t serve it as it’s not as pretty as the legs.  Waste not, want not, I say!




Mix the octopus and potatoes together with some olive oil, salt and paprika (quantities dependent on your taste buds).  Once it’s all coated and tasting yummy (testing is encouraged!), dish it up or put it on a serving plate for everyone to helps themselves (to firsts, seconds, thirds….  :)).  Don’t forget some nice crusty bread to mop up all that deliciousness afterwards!


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