Galician-style Octopus

Galician-style Octopus

Pulpo a la gallega or Galician-style Octopus is a traditional Galician tapa served all over Spain nowadays. It’s delicious and very easy to prepare, it consists of boiled octopus sprinkled with olive oil and hot paprika and typically served with boiled potatoes.

Serves 8


Galician-style Octopus | spanish recipe
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  • 1 octopus
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 onion (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Water
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • Hot paprika, to sprinkle
  • Salt to taste


  1. Note: To soften the octopus, freeze the octopus first. Let defrost before cooking, then rinse it under cold water to clean.
  2. Peel and wash the potatoes. Peel the onion. Fill half of a large saucepan with cold water. Stir in the bay leaf and the whole peeled potatoes and onion. Bring to a boil.
  3. Grab the octopus by the head and dip 3 times in the boiling water. The octopus tentacles will curl up. Add to the saucepan.
  4. Boil for about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the octopus. Prick it occasionally to check how hard it is. Boil until tender. Check the potatoes as well, and remove when tender.
  5. Remove from heat. Remove the potatoes (if you haven’t done it yet) and the octopus from the saucepan .Cut the octopus tentacles into half inch slices using scissors and cut the head into small pieces (if you had previously cleaned it). Cut the potatoes.
  6. Once sliced, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and sprinkle with hot paprika. If you don’t like spicy food, add sweet paprika instead of hot paprika or a bit of both.
  7. In Galicia, the octopus is traditionally served in a wooden plate because it absorbs the water dripped by the octopus. For this reason, serve on a wooden platter if possible.
  8. Arrange potato slices with the octopus and serve hot.

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