Pulpo a la Gallega.

Those of you who know me or follow me on Twitter will probably share my relief – I’ve finally, finally cooked the octopus. Ever since I ate an octopus salad back in February at this meal, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of cooking one at home. First I tried sourcing at Borough – no joy. Next, my local fishmonger, but he only had a real monster in stock, so I waited another few days for a more manageably sized cephalopod. Apparently, they are really popular and so the whole freezer was stacked to the brim with different sized specimens.

Now in possession of the ‘pus, my next stumbling block was a familiar one – my memory. Every night I would intend to defrost it and simply forgot, thus delaying the big event even further. In the interim though, I had plenty of time to look around for recipes. At first I wanted to create something akin to the salad I enjoyed all those weeks earlier – lemon, parsley, garlic – light, fresh flavours. Then a conversation with Dan and Rob led me onto this classic preparation, something a bit more warming for a cold (if sunny) day in London.

My fishmonger informed me that this mediterranean (?) species of octopus is much more desirable than the English ones they buy fresh, which tend to be too tough, even after the necessary preparations.This beasty however turned out perfectly – I defrosted and gently boiled for 45 minutes or so, giving the tentacles a quick dipping first to scald them and curl them up (see below).

A liberal dusting of paprika and sea salt, a slosh of olive oil, a sprinkle of parsley and – ta-da! My first ever home cooked octopus. Not a bad effort considering I was slightly scared of the slimey sucker when I started out. At a tenner a pop, I won’t be cooking it every week, but it’s definitely a welcome addition to the repertoire.

Pulpo a la Gallega

I basically followed this recipe, but only cooked it for 45 minutes (until it was tender) and I employed the fancy dipping technique to make the tentacles curly.

Category: Fish, Tapas 31 comments »

31 Responses to “Pulpo a la Gallega.”

  1. Lizzie

    Oh. My. God.

    It was worth the wait. I am SO getting me a beasty like that. Great photos!

    Lizzies last blog post..Pock-Marked Mother Chen’s Beancurd

  2. TheBoyDoneFood

    Good effort, always thought it would be a weensy bit scary to take on one of these at home

    TheBoyDoneFoods last blog post..Banh Mi: The business

  3. Niamh

    Yay! The octopus is dead! Long live the octopus. Looks delicious.

    Niamhs last blog post..Roast Pork Belly, cooked simply

  4. Su-Lin

    Ah! That’s why mine were tough – they were English and fresh!!! (but cheap, very cheap). Good job!

    Su-Lins last blog post..Spaghetti with Sausage and Cavolo Nero

  5. Peter

    A fine specimen…and frozen ‘pus is absolutely fine. I prep my octopus similar to Amy & Jonny and glad you’re a convert…it’s one of the best the sea has to offer.

    Pics are outsanding as well.

  6. The Graphic Foodie

    Very brave…although this one still looks massive – how big was the one you declined?!

    The Graphic Foodies last blog post..FAO The Graphic Foodie

  7. Becky

    Looks stunning , brilliant pictures

    Beckys last blog post..Prunes in blankets ( Prunes wrapped in bacon)

  8. lili - pikelet & pie

    Wow, looks so great. I have been thinking about cooking some octopus up soon, delicious :)

    lili – pikelet & pies last blog post..Sometimes Dips aren’t the Best Option.

  9. Dan Coward

    What a brilliant looking dish! All you need to go with it is a zingingly fresh Albarino – from the same part of the world (Galicia) as the recipe.

    Dan Cowards last blog post..One Foot in the Graves

  10. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen

    It looks great Helen! I have never cooked octopus before either, but maybe when we are in Italy?

    JennDZ_The LeftoverQueens last blog post..April Foodie Blogroll Giveaway: D’Italia!!!

  11. james

    OMG – you like to do things in style don’t you!

    It’s about 10.89 million miles from the awful octopus you see in brine…..

    On the grill or the barbecue – now that’s serious octopus flavour.

    jamess last blog post..What can I cook for St. Patrick’s Day?

  12. Merlotti

    Pics are fab as usual! Would love to give this a go and empathise with your ‘first night nerves’!

  13. Jenna Jayson

    I like I like I like! I’m getting hungry just by looking at your pictures!

  14. Rosie

    I have a recipe for squid in its own ink but I haven’t plucked up courage to try it yet!

  15. Jonathan

    Astonishing. Great work. It reminds me of some sort of classical mythical tale about trying to kill a sea monster.

    What’s next? Lion lasagne?

    Jonathans last blog post..Tiroler Hut

  16. krista

    I just told Niamh she needs to come over and show me how to make pork belly. I think I’ll have to have you and your octopus over too! I went to Hvar in Croatia in 2005 and ate octopus salad pretty much EVERY day. It was great.

    kristas last blog post..Go Where the Taxi Takes You…

  17. Christie @ fig&cherry

    Yikes! What a scary sucker. You’ve done a great job Helen!

    That first shot is totally edible :)

  18. Helen

    Thanks all – I am very glad I conquered the ‘pus.

    Rosie – You really should make that squid dish, you will be so happy with yourself afterwards and it will turn out delicious I’m sure.

    Krista – Starter of octopus and main of pork belly? Let’s make it happen!

  19. David Hall

    Loving them pics Helen! Bet it tasted superb too, I love octopus. Always reminds me of holidays in Greece when the fishermen hang them up in their hundreds to dry on the coast. Class.

    Dave x

  20. myfrenchkitchen

    tis is one mean poulpe you had here…looks delicious after!!

    myfrenchkitchens last blog post..Fennel salad

  21. we are never full

    hey helen! i was shocked to see the shout-out at the bottom to us!! We really thank you! i was about to comment that i was very happy that you finally found octopus and now i’m commenting that i’m really excited you tried our recipe.

    you did it justice! looks gorgeous. thanks for telling your readers it’s not as scary as they think.

  22. msmarmitelover

    aaarrgh Helen, that looks awful. More Jules Verne than Gordon Ramsey…sorry….

    msmarmitelovers last blog post..La nonna

  23. joey

    This is one of my favorite ways to have octopus! Congratulations on a very successful conquest :)

    joeys last blog post..Barley & Sausage

  24. Y

    Hooray for octopus! (I love that fourth photo, by the way) I love baby octopus braised in red wine. Have certainly never attempted to cook an octopus as big as the one you got!

    Ys last blog post..Banoffee Teacake

  25. Daziano

    I simply love octopus!!!! This dish is just gorgeous!

    Dazianos last blog post..‘Bloody’ Happy Cherimoya or Anona Molto Felice anche se un po’ insanguinata

  26. Trig

    Congratulations. Now try the baby ones, pulpitos. Alternatively, come out to Barcelona and I’ll take you somewhere where they really know how to cook them perfectly – a local gallegan restaurant.

    Trigs last blog post..Sea Food (Part 1)

  27. Jeanne

    OMG, not sure I’d have the guts to tackle the whole beast. In fact, hubby is unlikely to let me through the door bearing one!! But I do love to eat them… Can I please come over next time you cook a slimy beasite?!

    Jeannes last blog post..My perfect gift…

  28. Kang

    Wow! that’s awesome, I love octopus!! Great picture of you picking it up on the chopping board and all the pictures are really crystal clear!

  29. Jenna Jayson

    Hi! I noticed that my website isn’t appearing well just in case you want to read what I think about food being the food buff that I also am. Cheers!

    Jenna Jaysons last blog post..Coffee Buns

  30. Malus

    Hello, turtle, giraffe, octopus, wolf, bear…WWF can protect this animals

  31. Deborah

    Just gotta say, I LOVE “WANF”–Jonny’s posts are so great to read and learn from–and Amy is fantastic too, what a hoot!

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