Pulpo Gallego: A Galician-Style Octopus Tapa

galacian octopus on plate with wine

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 85 mins
Total: 100 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
234 Calories
9g Fat
12g Carbs
26g Protein
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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 (pulpo in Spanish) 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. Be sure to use good quality paprika and olive oil since they are the main flavorings. While it's a simple preparation, just plan ahead since the octopus will need to boil for at least an hour and chill for another hour.

Serve as part of a tapas spread with other dishes like patatas bravas, croquettes, or even a cheese plate. The dish pairs nicely with a dry white wine or vinho verde.

Ingredients

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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for Pulpo Gallego

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Boil a large pot of water over high heat. Remove the octopus from the freezer and place it directly in the boiling water. Cook until tender—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.

    whole octopus in pot of boiling water

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Remove the octopus from the water and allow it to cool. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

    whole octopus on plate

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Cut the chilled meat into bite-size chunks, slicing the legs in 1/2-inch rounds and the head into thin strips.

    cut octopus into bite sized pieces

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Rinse the potatoes and clean with a vegetable brush. Fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes until they can easily be pierced with a fork, about 25 to 25 minutes.

    potatoes in a pot of boiling water

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Drain the potatoes and rinse under cold running water. Allow the potatoes to cool, then peel. Slice into rounds approximately 1/3-inch thick.

    potatoes on cutting board being sliced

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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

    assembling of octopus and potato on serving platter

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Tips

  • 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.

What Does Octopus Taste Like?

If cooked properly, octopus is tender and some say similar to calamari in taste, while others say chicken.