Pulpo Gallego: A Galician-Style Octopus Tapa

Pulpo gallego, a Galician octopus dish

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  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
234 Calories
9g Fat
12g Carbs
26g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 234
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 82mg 27%
Sodium 396mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 26g
Calcium 96mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pulpo gallego, or Galician-style octopus, is a popular tapa (appetizer) served all over Spain today. It originated in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, where octopus is a specialty and a common catch for local fishermen.

This tapa recipe is easy, despite its unusual star ingredient. It is simply cooked octopus served with boiled potatoes, olive oil, and sweet Spanish paprika.


  • 1 1/2 pounds octopus (frozen)
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (Spanish extra virgin, to drizzle)
  • 1 dash paprika (sweet Spanish)

Steps to Make It

  1. Remove the octopus from the freezer and place it in a large pot of boiling water and cook until soft enough to eat. This usually takes about 1 hour for a 1- to 2-pound octopus. To test its tenderness, insert a knife where the legs and head meet. If it goes in easily, it's ready to eat.

  2. Remove the octopus from the water and allow it to cool. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut into bite-size chunks, slicing the legs in 1/2-inch rounds and the head into thin strips.

  3. Rinse potatoes and clean with a vegetable brush.

  4. Fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes until they can easily be poked with a fork.

  5. Remove potatoes from heat and place under cold running water.

  6. Allow the potatoes to cool, then peel. Slice into rounds approximately 1/3-inch thick.

  7. Arrange potato slices on a serving platter. Place octopus on top. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle sweet paprika over top and serve.

Selecting Octopus

You can use either fresh or frozen octopus. Depending on where you live, it may be easier to find it frozen. Keep in mind that fresh octopus should not smell fishy; this is a sign that it's going bad.

If it's a fresh octopus, ask the fishmonger to clean it for you. Otherwise, cleaning octopus is not difficult to do yourself. Be sure to remove the ink sac, the section of the head with the eyes, the beak, and the internal organs.

If you find boiled octopus at a local international or gourmet food store, this will cut down on the time it takes to prepare this dish. Simply remove it from the package, rinse, and slice.