Try something different Try Octopus “a la mugardesa”

Nothing I guess senders more of a shiver down most peoples spine when they think of creatures from the deep than an Octopus, but funnily enough they are also quite a delicacy when prepared properly and that is the purpose of this article about a dish from North Western Spain or more specifically Galicia.

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 relatively recent unification of Spain as a single political entity is really the main driving force that lies behind this theory as the country is an amalgamation of the various autonomous regions that lie within it. These autonomous regions have been slowly amalgamated through a number of different processes throughout history but have all kept their own distinctive features.

There are 17 different autonomous regions that come together to form modern-day Spain and the majority of these regions have their own cultures that is the majority of them have their own linguistic variations and in some cases different languages and they certainly have their own individual cuisines.

One of the most distinctive of the autonomous sub regions is that of Galicia. Spain’s most westerly autonomous region it is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean and as you can imagine for a region that has so much rugged coastline a lot of Galician cuisine is very much based on seafood and seafood based recipes.

That having said not all of Galician cuisine is all seafood based and the region can lay claim to some quite gorgeous recipes and provincial dishes and are all well worth trying out.

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

The key thing to remember when you are cooking octopus is that you have to get your preparation right. In this instance we are going to cook the Octopus with enough for four people so ingredient wise we will need the following:

2 kg of octopus pieces
4 potatoes
1 green pepper
1 large onion
2 or 3 peeled tomatoes
Coarse salt
½ a teaspoon of hot paprika
3 cloves of garlic.

To prepare this dish the first thing you need to do is put 2 litres of water into a pan and when it begins to boil, put the octopus into it briefly three times. That way it will be more tender and the suckers on the tentacles will not be lost. Then you must let the octopus cook, over a strong heat for about 40 minutes. After this you should put the water to one side so that you can use it to make the sauce..

Next take the potatoes and peel and chop them and partly cook them in the reserved water and then add salt to them. Next you must finely chop the onion and add it to a frying pan with oil. When the onion is fairly well done add the chopped pepper and tomato. After 15 minutes add two or three large spoonfuls of octopus cooking water and mix. Take the potatoes and put them in a deep serving dish and add the octopus in the centre. And some salt immediately to taste. Lightly fried garlic and separately makes the sweet and hot paprika. When the garlic is brown at the launch spoonful of cooking water and then the paprika mixture. Optionally you can use with a little vinegar. Finally pour the sauce obtained over the octopus and serve.

The key thing to remember with the octopus is that it must be served very hot. This entire dish should take you no more than about two hours from start to finish and you can serve it all year round.