Pulpo a la gallega (galician octopus)

I was excited about pulpo a la gallega well before I ate it. Lots of Galician food involves seafood but octopus seems to hold a particularly key place. Pulpo a la gallega (also known as pulpo à feira) is available everywhere, from tapas bars to fairs (which gives it the alternative name).

The large food tent at village fairs is a hub of octopus activity.  At one small festival we went to, we watched a large octopus being scooped from alarge pan into a boiling copper pot, churning and contracting in the water, then being ladled onto the hotplate for finishing and cutting into bits with scissors. It was then placed on a wooden plate and liberally sprinkled with sea salt, paprika and olive oil. Plenty of bread and red wine helped wash it down and mop it up.

The texture, a mix of firm centre and slimey edges,  I found a bit disconcerting for the first mouthful but rich olive oil and the salt made it very moreish. I liked it best in thinner slices, scooped onto bread with oil and the firm wrinkled tentacles, chewy and squishy all at the same time.  

I haven’t tried to make it at home yet, but if you have a large copper pot and a whole octopus, it seems quite doable. A good description of how to do it can be found here on EatDrinkTravel.

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