How to cook octopus spanish style
If you want to know how to cook octopus Spanish style you’ve come to the right place.
Choosing your octopus is important in Spanish home cooking!
Make sure it is bright and shiny.
In the Spanish coastal regions, you would usually buy it still alive. Fresh fish is always a must. Old sea food is just not worth eating.
A nice big one is best. The octopus is more filling than you think! But you do want a good size portion. For 4 people a 3-4 kg octopus is about right, as it will shrink in the cooking process. Once you have chosen your octopus it’s time to prepare it for cooking.
To clean him
Cut around the eyes, open up the head turn it inside out and make sure you remove all the content. Then cut out the beak and mouth parts, wash under clean running water. (you can ask your fishmonger to do this for you when you buy it).
My mother in-law who is an expert in all Spanish home cooking, (most of these recipes come from her). She won’t write them down “in case the neighbours get hold of her tricks.” I’ve cooked with her over the years and learnt what to do. She says, to get the best results freeze him for a day or two. Thaw, before you start to cook him.This helps the octopus tenderise.
Ready for the pot!
Once he has thawed out he’s ready for the pot, get the biggest saucepan you have. If you have a copper pot its best, but if not place a few copper coins in the water, this will give you a really authentic taste. (sounds funny but believe me makes a difference).
Fill the pan with water and bring to the boil. You can add a few coarsely chopped onions, carrot and some bay leaf into the water. Then take the octopus by the head and plunge the tentacles in the water. Count to five slowly and take him out, put on the side and wait for the water to come back to the boil. Put him back in, repeat this twice more. (three times in total) This curls the tentacles and helps to make him even more tender.
Put the octopus back into the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an 1 hour-1 hour 1/2 until tender. Take out and leave on the side.
Now add the potatoes to the water and cook them until done. While they are cooking cut the head off your octopus. (mother in-law keeps this bit for herself! She loves it, but it’s not to everyone taste). Take the tentacles and cut into slices. Pop them on a wooden plate with the potato (also sliced). In Spanish home cooking a real authentic presentation would be to drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with a big pinch of sea salt and paprika. If you are serving as a tapas pop some cocktail sticks in to the tasty morsels so they can easily be picked up and eaten by your guests.
It sounds like a lot of work, but as with most Spanish home cooking it isn’t. You have plenty of time to prepare you other dishes while your beautiful pulpo is cooking.
Believe me to cook octopus spanish style is truly a delicious dish!!
Click on the links there’s loads more delicious dishes from Spain for you to try out.