A Taste of Galicia - Octopus a Feira

By: Stephen Morgan

Quite often when you research information into the various cultures and cuisines that make up countries it is quite possible to find a common theme common name for the food of that country. Such as French food, Italian food etc but with the regards to Spanish food or more accurately described as recipes that originate from the country of Spain it could be argued that it is not quite that simple.

The reason for this is that you could quite easily argue that technically there is no such thing as Spanish food and the reason being for this is that Spain is an amalgam of its constituent parts that is to say it could be described as a political construct which is made up of disparate groups with their own languages, cultures, cuisines etc. The various autonomous regions that comprise Spain have been slowly pulled together through a variety of different processes some by force, some by choice but they all have one thing in common and that is they have kept their own individual features.

The number of autonomous different regions that form what we would nowadays refer to as Spain is 17; they all have their own linguistic variations of the language, in some cases it's a different sub language entirely and as well as their own cultures most definitely have their own individual cuisines.

One of those autonomous regions comprises the north-western province of Galicia. Galicia is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean and it is pretty understandable to think that for a region that has such an involvement with the sea, its cuisine would also be heavily influenced by the sea.

The above having been said not all of Galicia's finest recipes are all seafood based and the region can lay claim to quite a variety of dishes all of which are most definitely worth investigating further.

Lets top talking about the food and get down to business. Let's eat!

The ingredients for four people with this dish are as follows:

1 Octopus of about 2 kg in weight.
1 Onion
2dl of Olive Oil
2L Water
1 Spoonful of Sweet Paprika
1 Spoonful of Hot Paprika
Coarse Salt

Basically this dish is all about preparation. Clean the Octopus carefully first, remove the ink sac, and the beak that it has between the tentacles and empty the head. Beat it with a mallet and wash it in plenty of water.

Put the Octopus into a tall pan with boiling water and the onion, and then take it out with the help of a skewer roughly three times. The aim of this exercise is to actually scald the meat rather than cook it at this stage.

Once this exercise has been repeated then put the Octopus back into the pan and then continue to cook it until the meat is tender. The time that this would take does really depend upon the quality of the Octopus that you are cooking.

Once the meat is tender enough then remove from the pan making sure that at all times that the skin doesn't disintegrate. Remove the octopus from the pan with the aid of a skewer and this way your fingers are less likely to end up being seriously scalded!

Dry the cooked octopus and cut into 2 or 3 centimetre pieces. Put the hot octopus pieces on to wooden plates and season with salt and sprinkle with the two kinds of paprika and the olive oil.

This would make an ideal first course or a light snack!

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