Octopus Galician-style

One of the typical dishes of the gastronomy of northern Spain is the Galician-style octopus, an exquisite dish that, once you try, you will want to repeat! If you have ever been to Galicia, tried this culinary delicacy, and want to learn how to make it, we invite you to discover how easy it is to prepare!

A typical dish of the Galician gastronomy.

Octopus á Feira, as it is also known, is one of the delicacies of northern Spain. For many, Galician-style octopus is the most delicious delicacy from the country's north. It is a straightforward recipe to prepare, and, to this day, it still retains its iconic essence.

Did you know that octopus á feira is traditionally served at grape harvests and popular festivals in the north of Spain? And the pulpier usually goes around the fairs, carrying their copper pots, oil pans, and sacks of salt and paprika, essential ingredients in this popular recipe.

Originally the octopus á feira was prepared in large copper cauldrons directly over the fire. It is a tradition that, to this day, is still very much alive. This typical dish is served with a good albariño white wine.

Galician-style octopus recipe

Ingredients

  • A kilo and a half of octopus.
  • A kilo of medium potatoes.
  • Paprika de la Vera or sweet and sour paprika...
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Coarse or flaked salt.

Elaboration

The octopus á feira or Galician octopus is a reasonably simple recipe, but there is a trick to it. To begin with, it is impossible to cook fresh octopus because it would be tough, so it is necessary to soften it beforehand! How to do it? You must freeze it so that it can be soft at the time of cooking.

In addition, it will also be necessary to achieve the optimum cooking point so that the octopus is delicious. It would help if you found the perfect balance so that it is neither too soft nor too hard.


  • The first thing to do is to freeze the octopus to soften it. And, of course, remove it from the freezer the night before cooking.
  • Place the octopus in a bowl in the refrigerator so that the defrosting process is optimal. Remember that you cannot take the octopus out of the fridge to thaw it at room temperature. The most advisable is always to do it inside the refrigerator. Although you can defrost the octopus outside the fridge and even at room temperature, it is always best to follow a thorough process.
  • Pour plenty of water into a saucepan large enough to hold the octopus.
  • It is time to add the octopus when the water is hot but not boiling. It is a peculiar process because you will have to submerge it, remove it from the water three times, and hold it by the head. Why do you have to do it? This is the way to get the octopus to temper progressively, not all at once. It makes a big difference in the moment of cooking!
  • When the octopus starts to boil, allow 20 to 30 minutes to elapse.
  • In the meantime, peel the potatoes. It is essential to choose potatoes of the same size so that the cooking time is similar.
  • When the 30 minutes have elapsed, prick the octopus by the tentacles using a fork. It is important to prick the thick part of the tentacles, i.e., the area near the head. This way, you can check if the octopus is ready. If the octopus is still hard, leave it on the heat for a few more minutes.
  • Once the octopus is cooked, could you remove it from the heat and set it aside?
  • Cook the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes in the same water you cooked the octopus. Be careful with the cooking time of the potatoes! The last thing you want is for them to break or fall apart.
  • When the potatoes are done, return the octopus to the heat to give it a head kick. You will only need a couple of minutes.
  • To serve the octopus á feira, it is necessary to use a wooden plate. And this plate also has a protagonist role during the elaboration process: you must soak it in the cooking water!
  • Cut the octopus into slices. Use kitchen scissors to do this.
  • Place the potatoes in the center of the wooden plate and pour a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over them.
  • Add the slices of cooked octopus.
  • Season with coarse salt and paprika.

Tips for the preparation of octopus á feira

As you have seen, the Galician octopus is a straightforward recipe, but it requires particular elaboration so that the results are the best. Follow the recipe to the letter, as this makes a big difference when eating the octopus: it can be tricky! There is nothing worse than a Galician-style octopus that is not tender.

You can cook the potatoes in slices or halves, but placing the whole potatoes on the fire is best. On the other hand, the paprika you choose can be sweet or spicy, but look for quality ingredients; paprika gives the necessary touch to this recipe.

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