Try some Pulpo a Feira, Galician Octopus

Somehow when you do a little research on the cuisine of an individual country it is quite easy to come up almost with a common theme, a common name for the food for that country. Such as English food, German food but when you consider Spanish food or if you wish to be a bit more accurate about how you look at it, food and recipes that originate from Spain there is a very convincing argument that would say it’s not that simple.

The reason for this is that you could quite easily argue that technically there is no such thing as Spanish food and the reason being for this is that Spain is an amalgam of its constituent parts that is to say it could be described as a political construct which is made up of disparate groups with their own languages, cultures, cuisines etc. These autonomous regions have been slowly amalgamated through a number of different processes throughout history but have all kept their own distinctive features.

The number of autonomous different regions that form what we would nowadays refer to as Spain is 17; they all have their own linguistic variations of the language, in some cases it’s a different sub language entirely and as well as their own cultures most definitely have their own individual cuisines.

One of those autonomous regions comprises the north-western province of Galicia. Galicia is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean and it is pretty understandable to think that for a region that has such an involvement with the sea, its cuisine would also be heavily influenced by the sea.

The above having been said not all of Galicia’s finest recipes are all seafood based and the region can lay claim to quite a variety of dishes all of which are most definitely worth investigating further.

Lets top talking about the food and get down to business. Let’s eat!

This particular recipe serves eight people and as such the ingredients needed would be as follows;

1 octopus, weighing about 1 – 1.8 kg (2 – 4lb)
½ onion left in one piece.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sweet paprika
Salt.

Again and as with all these recipes the single most vitally important part of the entire process is the preparation. Begin by cleaning the octopus carefully and that means turn back the tentacles and slice through the muscles that hold the innards inside the head. I must confess that this particular part of the recipe is not necessarily for the faint hearted or those who are possibly squeamish but then next what you have to do is to turn the head inside out and wash thoroughly.

Now I know that this part of the process might be gross and basically what you then have to do is to pop back the head in the right way and the initial work is done.

The next part of the process is that you have to take the remainder of the octopus and freeze it for 48 hours. The reason for this is that it’ll save you a lot of time thrashing and pounding around that it used to do that was necessary to tenderise the octopus flesh.

Take the onion and place in a large saucepan and then fill this saucepan with water and then bring it slowly to the boil.

The moment that the water starts to boil, taking a pair of tongs you now have dip the octopus in and out of the water between three and four claims until the tentacles begin to curl. The reason for this is that it keeps the skin of the octopus intact and that would give you a deliciously tender result. At this point it is essential that the octopus is placed into the boiling water and is then cooked for between 30 to 45 minutes. A good way of checking whether octopus is cooked is to take a skewer and pierce the Octopus and then see whether the octopus’ head slides off the head of the skewer with ease.

At this point take the Octopus and leave this to rest in the remaining water for about 10 minutes.

Take the octopuses tentacles and slice them into discs and take these discs and put them onto a wooden board. Take these pieces of Octopus tentacle and drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with salt and season with paprika to taste.

Take the pieces of octopus and skewer with a cocktail stick while the octopus is still warm. You can keep the cooked octopus for a couple days in a refrigerator just make sure that you let the octopus come back to room temperature and remember to season it at the last minute.