Octopus, Galician style (Pulpo a la Gallega)

Although this traditional Galician dish (known as Pulpo a la Gallega) is normally served with sliced octopus, over a bed of sliced, sauteed potatoes – I just happened to see a photo of a similar dish in a local restaurant, and decided to use the same technique, leaving the tentacles in tact and serving it over a bed of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes!  The result was spectacular! This dish is normally served as a starter, although I must admit, the portions I prepared on this occasion were more those of a main course dish!

250/500g cooked octopus tentacles (depending on how big an appetite you have!)
Olive oil
Paprika (pimentón dulce)

Potatoes/milk/butter/salt & pepper (again, amounts depend on your appetite!)

Peel and cut the potatoes in small pieces. Place in cold, well salted water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20mins or until very soft. Strain, return to the pan and add enough milk and butter to achieve the consistency you prefer. Heat the milk and once the butter has melted, mash until smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover with the lid to keep warm whilst preparing the octopus.

Dry the octopus tentacles with kitchen paper – you can either leave them whole or slice them down the middle lengthwise. Heat a good amount of olive oil (enough to leave each serving with a good drizzle over the finished dish) in a frying pan and when very hot, drop the tentacles into the oil, being careful to cover the pan as quickly as possible as the hot oil will spit.  Use tongs to turn the tentacles over until nice and charred (I cheated here and held the tentacles out of the oil, over the pan, whilst I charred each one with a blowtorch). Once sufficiently charred, add around 1tsp of paprika to the oil and stir quickly to incorporate. Don’t leave over the heat for too long or the paprika will burn.

Serve over the mashed potatoes, drizzled with that delicious paprika oil.