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Pulpo Gallego (Galician Octopus Salad)

Pulpo Gallego (or Galician Octopus Salad) is a traditional dish from Galicia in North Western Spain. It is a method of cooking where you braise the Octopus over a long period, so it has just the right amount of tenderness. It is served with baby potato wedges doused with olive oil, lemons and smoked paprika. I have had this dish in several parts of Spain, but unfortunately I have difficulty finding it in London, so I have had to figure out how to make my own. This is my take on Pulpo Gallego and I know you are going to enjoy it.


2 Medium onions, roughly chopped

1 Carrot, roughly chopped

2 Celery sticks, roughly chopped 6 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 Teaspoon fine salt

1 Teaspoon black peppercorns

1x 1kg Octopus, whole and prepped (your fish monger should do this for you, if it is frozen it should be thawed in a fridge overnight before cooking)

3 Tablespoons good quality olive oil (if not good quality, use rapeseed oil)

1/2 Banana shallot, very finely chopped

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Flakes of sea salt

400g Baby potatoes

1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Sourdough bread ( to serve with it)

A nice bottle of Rioja (for drinking with the meal)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 2 hour, 20 minutes

Serves: Enough for 2 people


  1. Put the potatoes in a pot of boiling water and boil until tender, about 12 - 15 minutes. They are ready when you can cut one easily with the flat edge of a butter knife. Run cold water over them and allow them to cool

  2. Fill a large pot half way, put it on a high heat and bring it to the boil

  3. Add the onions, carrot, celery, garlic, one teaspoon of salt and the black peppercorns

  4. Hold the Octopus by the head and dip the tentacles in and out of the water 3 times. I have no idea what this does but most of the recipes for this dish seem to think it is a good idea, so I am including it)

  5. Put the Octopus in the water and turn the heat down to low, make sure the Octopus is covered with water, put a lid on the pot and simmer for 90 - 120 minutes. You can check a little bit after 90 minutes to see how it is doing, cook for longer if still tough. The Octopus should be tender but not overcooked. So take it out of the water when it is right for you

  6. Use a scissors to snip of the tentacles as close to the body as you can

  7. Cut the tentacles into pieces, about 50 - 100mm long works for me

  8. Put the octopus tentacles in a bowl and add one tablespoon of the oil, along with a small pinch of salt and pepper, mix well

  9. Heat the grill to high (or even better, do it on a barbeque) spread the tentacle pieces over a baking tray and grill (or barbeque) at a very high heat until slightly browned

  10. Put the octopus tentacles back in the bowl, cut the potatoes into wedges and add to the bowl

  11. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, the finely chopped banana shallot with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

  12. Add to the bowl with the octopus and potatoes and mix well

  13. Serve on plates and if there is any leftover dressing, make sure to drizzle over the top

  14. Sprinkle a little paprika over the top as well as a little bit of the chopped parsley

  15. Serve with a nice glass of Ríoja and some nice sourdough bread

  16. Enjoy!

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