Pulpo a la Gallega
Here’s a great recipe if you have never had the pleasure of enjoying beautifully tender cooked octopus, prepared with a Spanish influence. Simple and delicious, this is one of my favourite ways to eat octopus.
This dish really is about some of the foundations of good Spanish cooking. Extra virgin olive oil, smoked pimenton (paprika), with of course potato and octopus. In street markets along the coast of Spain you will often see this dish being prepared by various vendors, so tasty
Ingredients (serves 4)
• 2lb octopus tentacles (here in Canada we tend to only be able to buy octopus frozen, which actually works out well because the freezing actually helps to tenderize the meat) You can pick up octopus tentacles from the Whalesbone Sustainable Oyster & Fish Supply, 504a Kent St. 613.231.3474
• 2lb fingerling potatoes (Yukon golds or new potatoes could be substituted)
• 1 Spanish onion
• A couple of bay leaves
• Smoked hot or sweet pimenton (paprika) depending on your taste
• A good quality extra virgin olive oil, Spanish if possible
• Good quality sea salt, Maldon Salt, Salt de gris
Place octopus tenticles in a shallow dish and pour about 1 cup of kosher salt over tentacles and begin messaging tentacles with your hands, working the salt along the length of the tentacles, the salt is acting as an abrasive and helps take some of the slime off of the tentacles, do this for about 5 – 10 minutes. The massaging is also supposed to help with tenderizing the meat.
Fill a pot large enough to fit the octopus into, with water and bring to a rolling boil. Rinse the salt and slime off of the octopus, and with a set of tongs submerge the tentacles in the boiling water, basically scalding them so that the flesh starts to tighten up. Do this about 4 times, and on the fouth time let the tentacles go away into the pot. Add the Spanish onion, sliced in half and the bay leaves to pot. Bring the pot back up to a boil and then reduce it down to a nice gentle simmer, like you were making a nice stock.
Now cooking time will vary depending on the size of the tentacles, but I would say you are looking at at least 45minutes to an hour and a half. I’m basically cooking the tentacles until I can gently poke a wooden skewer through the flesh with very little resistance.
Now while the octopus is simmering away cook the fingerling potatoes in slightly salted water, leaving the potatoes whole. Cook until just tender and delicious. Strain and cool. At this point you can peel the potatoes or leave the skins on, whatever you prefer. Cut the potaoes into ½ inch thick rounds.
Now hopefully the occy is getting close to done, check with skewer test and if everything is a go you should have some wonderfully tender octopus. Take out of water and let cool slightly. Discard liquid, unless you wish to save it for some sort of fish based stew or what have you….that would be another recipe though hehehe..
So we should be pretty good to go the plate at this point….
Cut the octopus into rounds about a ½ inch thick. Place on serving dish with potatoes and drizzle with a good amount of the extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with the smoked pimenton (paprika) probably about 1 – 2 tsp depending on your taste, squeeze abit of lemon over the plate and season the plate with the sea salt of your choice…..
PULPO A LA GALLEGA
Ingredients (serves 4)
Chef Michael Radford