This traditional Spanish dish from Galicia, doesn’t rely on an army of ingredients but the few ingredients it does rely on are very special with lots of flavour. It might seem daunting but it is actually quite easy as frozen octopus is readily available at online supermarkets. Add as much Paprika as you like and definitely be generous with the oil.
1 frozen Spanish double sucker octopus, around 2kg
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, cut into 4
1 onion, peeled and halved
3 fresh bay leaves
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
1kg red skinned potatoes, kept whole or if very large, cut in 2
Salt and pepper
Belazu Sweet Smoked Paprika
Defrost the octopus by placing in a fridge for 24 hours or to defrost more quickly, place in a large bowl of cold water, changing the water every now and again. Once softened, place the octopus on a cutting board and make a cut between one of the tentacles towards the centre, where the mouth is and remove the beak.
Place a large pan of water on the stove and add the garlic, carrots, onion, fennel seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves. Once boiling, carefully lower the whole octopus into the water and cover with parchment paper. Bring the water up to a gentle simmer and then place a lid on top. Cook for 30 minutes and then test to see if it is cooked by inserting a cocktail stick or small sharp knife into the thickest part. If it is hard, then cook for another 10 minutes and test again. The tip should go to the centre with ease but with a little resistance. Be careful of overcooking it, as the flesh can go very mushy. Lift the octopus from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a tray. Allow to cool for 30 minutes then place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
Add the potatoes to the water and cook until soft in the middle but not falling apart, around 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Strain the water and reserve as it can be used as a stock for risotto or other fish dishes.
Remove the octopus from the fridge and separate each leg by cutting it from the main body. Slice each leg into 1 cm pieces and then chop the head up into small strips. Slice the potatoes into 2cm rounds. To serve, place a single layer of potatoes on a plate, or wooden board to be more authentic, and then top with slices of octopus. Season with salt and pepper then dress liberally with olive oil. Use the shaker opening to dust each dish with a good layer of smoked paprika, adding more or less as you prefer.