Pulpo a Feira
Though it originated in Galicia or the neighboring region of Leon, pulpo a
feira, as it is known in Galician, or pulpo a la gallega, as it is called in
Spanish, is now popular throughout Spain. It is usually served on wooden plates
with cachelos, potatoes that have been boiled or roasted in embers with their
skins on. Frozen octopus works particularly well, since the freezing tenderizes
the otherwise quite tough meat, so that is what I suggest you use here. If you
prefer to use a fresh octopus, you will need to practice the almost tribal
tradition of beating the animal with a rock or meat mallet to rid of its rubbery
texture. Another option is to freeze fresh octopus for about two weeks to
The size of the most commonly available octopus is about three pounds;
smaller ones, while more tender, are not suited to this preparation, since the
tentacles would be too small when cut into rings.
- Serves 6
- Difficulty: intermediate
- 4 quarts water
- 6 tablespoons coarse sea salt
- 1 frozen octopus, about 3 pounds thawed overnight in the refrigerator
- 1 pound new potatoes, boiled with their skins on and kept warm
- 1 cup
extra virgin oil
- 2 tablespoons
In a large stockpot, combine the water and 5 tablespoons of the salt and
bring to a boil. While the water is heating, rinse the octopus under running
cold water. Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut out the mouth and the eyes.
With a long fork, pierce the octopus to get a good grip and dip it into the
boiling water. Lift out immediately and, when the water returns to a boil, dip
it briefly again. Repeat this dipping procedure 3 or 4 times, or until the
tentacles have curled. (Dipping the octopus into boiling water helps to
tenderize it.) Submerge the octopus in the water and let it boil over medium
heat for about 2 hours, or until it is tender when pierced with a knife.
Turn off the heat and let the octopus rest in the hot water for 10 minutes.
Lift the octopus from the water and cut it into pieces with the scissors: the
tentacles into 1/2-inch-thick rings and the body into small chunks. Divide the
octopus pieces evenly among 6 plates.
Cut the potatoes crosswise in 1/2-inch-thick slices and surround the octopus
pieces with the potato slices. Drizzle the octopus and potatoes with the olive
oil and sprinkle with hot paprika and the remaining tablespoon of salt. Serve
the dish while the octopus and potatoes are still warm.
- Albarino to Zinfandel food pairing for new varietal wines has recipes and menu suggestions for Spanish and other wine types.
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