1onion, coarsely chopped1fresh bay leaf sprig1large octopus, tentacles only (about 1.5kg, see note)To serve:lemon wedges (optional)Paprika and garlic oil125 ml(½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil1garlic clove, very thinly sliced½ tspeach of sweet and smoked paprika
Bring a very large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add onion and bay sprig and dunk octopus in water 3 times to blanch, then add to pan, cover with baking paper and weight with a smaller lid to submerge. Bring back to a simmer and cook, covered, over low heat until tender (2 hours). Drain, cool, then refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).
Meanwhile, for paprika and garlic oil, combine all ingredients in a small pan over low heat and cook until garlic just turns golden (5-10 minutes). Cool, transfer garlic to a bowl, using a slotted spoon, place a muslin-lined sieve over and strain oil, to remove paprika sediment, into a bowl. Set aside.
Slice octopus and transfer to a plate. Season to taste and drizzle with paprika and garlic oil and serve with lemon wedges.
Note You may need to order a whole octopus in advance from your fishmonger. Ask them to remove the head and beak.
This is Galicia’s signature dish. At fairs, small pieces of cooked octopus tentacles are snipped with scissors straight onto plates and sprinkled with paprika and salt. We’ve served the octopus chilled, but you can also serve it warm.