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Fairground octopus

Australian Gourmet Traveller Spanish tapas recipe for fairground octopus.

By Lisa Featherby
  • Serves 6
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs cooking plus cooling, chilling
Fairground octopus
Fairground octopus

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.

Pulpo a feira


  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 fresh bay leaf sprig
  • 1 large octopus, tentacles only (about 1.5kg, see note)
  • To serve: lemon wedges (optional)
Paprika and garlic oil
  • 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, very thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp each of sweet and smoked paprika


  • 1
    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).
  • 2
    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.
  • 3
    Slice octopus and transfer to a plate. Season to taste and drizzle with paprika and garlic oil and serve with lemon wedges.


You may need to order a whole octopus in advance from your fishmonger. Ask them to remove the head and beak.
Drink Suggestion: A crisp, floral albariño. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Lisa Featherby