Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Octopus) is a famous dish in Galicia, Spain that leaves a reminiscent impression on travelers, and a desire to replicate at home. Octopus is the focal point of this recipe, simply flavored with smoked and sweet paprikas, a little bit of sea salt, lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. What’s not so simple is getting octopus to the tender point without overcooking it. Like goldilocks, you want to find the perfect moment between too much and too little.
Thankfully, a lot of people have been motivated to recreate the mouth-watering delicacy they remember from their trips to Europe, so they’ve found some great methods for getting the most out of your octopus.
For our recipe, we’re giving you choices. You can bake in the oven at a low temperature or place in a slow cooker on low. Either method requires patience (4 – 5 hours worth). Your patience, however, is absolutely worth it when you bite into the tenderest octopus you’ve ever tasted. Try it and let us know what you think!
Defrost frozen octopus in the refrigerator for 24 hours before cooking.
In a small prep bowl, whisk together smoked, hot paprika and sweet Spanish paprika. Set aside for garnish.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
Holding the octopus head with tongs, lower it into boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and pat the octopus dry with paper towels.
Using a slow cooker (crock pot): Place octopus in slow cooker and cook on low until tender when pierced with a knife where the head and legs meet (about 5 hours). After the first 4 hours, begin checking for doneness every 15 minutes. Remove from the slow cooker and pour juices into a small saucepan or skillet.
Slow baking in an oven: Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place octopus in dry ovenproof pan with a lid (like a dutch oven or deep skillet). Cover and bake until tender when pierced with a knife where the head and legs meet (about 4 – 5 hours). After the first 4 hours, begin checking for doneness every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the pan to cool. Drain octopus juices into a small saucepan or skillet.
Reduce juices by bringing to a boil and cooking until the liquid thickens into desired sauce consistency.
Cut octopus arms into bite sized slices and arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with paprika mixture. Season with a pinch of sea salt and squeeze lemon juice over the top. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!
Serve Galician octopus hot over a bed of roasted potatoes, cooked rice or mixed green salad.