Once again New Deal Fish market supplied me with a fine Spanish octopus, and I made all of my favorite dishes over the course of a week. Preparation was straightforward, using my standard procedure of dipping the tentacles in boiling water for 30 seconds, cooking the whole octopus in a heavy pot with lid (no liquid in the pot), so it braises in its own considerable juices, for about 5 hours at 200° F. When tender, place the hot octopus into a citrusy, herb-flavored bath of olive oil, and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and use as many tentacles as needed for each meal, saving the remainder for the next one.
Pulpo a la Gallega
The first choice is always the simplest. Octopus, pimenton, sea salt flakes, fruity olive oil, some lemon juice, and a glass of wine.
Grilled Octopus and Potatoes
I had some small fingerling potatoes that I thought would do well in this iconic octopus salad, so I braised them in olive oil and water until tender, and added them to grilled tentacles, cut into 3/4″ pieces. Torn fresh basil, pimenton (picante this time), olive oil and a little lemon….mmmmmmm.
The wine was a big surprise. I had opened a bottle of 1994 Beaux Frères Pinot Noir from Oregon, and thought it might go well with this dish. Indeed it did! Even after spending 24 years in my wine cellar, it was fresh, rich and powerful, a tribute to the winery’s viticulture and fine winemaking.
I enjoyed the Octopus/Potato Salad so much, I did it again the next day, this time with parsley and chives instead of basil.
Salad with Basmati Rice and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
For the Finale on the last day of the week, I grilled the remaining pieces of tentacle and cap, and added it to leftover cooked Basmati Rice (plus chopped sun-dried tomatoes, celery, celery leaves, and parsley), for yet another room-temperature dish for a satisfying lunch.
I’ve only cooked an octopus once, and I was amazed at how many meals came from it!