Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spanish-style Octopus

Ever since we returned from Barcelona in June, I've been wanting to try and cook an octopus (pulpo). A friend recommended a fishmonger at the French Market at the Ogilvie Metra station, so I picked up a one-pound octopus on the way home from work today.

Got home and had no idea how to prep and cook an octopus, so I did a little internet research and learned you have to boil the sucker for an hour! But I had a fresh octopus in hand; no turning back now!

I put a pot of water on the stove to boil, with about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. After rinsing the sea creature under cold water, I proceeded to dispatch the rest of it. First I cut off its head (channeling the Queen of Hearts). I cut the head in half, and removed the yucky bits (some crunchy and gooey bits). Then I cut through the webbing between each leg, up to the center of the body, and cut off each leg, discarding the remainder of the body. Once the water came to a boil, I tossed the pieces in, put the heat on low, covered the pot, and let it boil for 45 minutes.

Since I'd originally been inspired by Spain, I decided to prepare it tapas style (thank you to Mark Bittman), with olive oil, paprika, and potatoes. After 45 minutes, I added a medium Yukon gold potato cut into large chunks, 3/4 tablespoon of smoked paprika, and 1/4 tablespoon of hot Hungarian paprika (because I like it hot). I let that boil for 15 minutes until both the octopus and potatoes were easy to pierce with the tip of a knife.

To serve, I placed the potatoes on a plate, put the octopus on top, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled a little more smoked paprika on top.

¡Buen provecho!

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