"Madrid is one of the powerhouses of innovation. Here a traditional dish may undergo a makeover that renders it unrecognisable to the inhabitants of its birthplace. But when done with respect for the ingredients, sometimes culinary change can bring about something excellent. Pulpo a la Gallega is a simple dish of octopus slices resting on discs of potato cooked in the same water as the octopus. It is served on a plate and dressed with olive oil and pimentón. This version is becoming quite popular in Madrid and acknowledges the evolution of chef skills and diner expectations - without changing the ingredients at the heart of the dish. This terrine is set with nothing more than the gelatine naturally occurring in the octopus." You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
- 2 kg (about 8) frozen octopus tentacles, thawed
- 1 tsp agridulce paprika (see note)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 kg Nicola potatoes, scrubbed
- 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
- 1Plunge octopus tentacles in batches into a large saucepan of boiling unsalted water for 15 seconds, then remove. Return water to the boil, then repeat another four times, allowing water to reach boiling point between each immersion. On the last immersion, leave octopus in water, reduce heat to barely a simmer, then cook until octopus is tender but outside pink layer is still intact (30-40 minutes). Drain octopus and set aside until cool enough to handle (15-20 minutes).
- 2Line a 25cm x 10cm terrine mould with plastic wrap. Trim tentacles to the same length as the terrine mould, measuring from thick end of tentacles down. Place in a bowl, add agridulce paprika and half the parsley and mix together well. Arrange tentacles, top to tail, to fill terrine, using smaller tentacles to fill any gaps. Cover with plastic wrap, then place a heavy weight on top and refrigerate overnight.
- 3For potato salad, several hours prior to serving, place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (40-45 minutes). Drain and leave until cool enough to handle (10-15 minutes), then peel. Place in a large bowl and crush with a fork until coarsely mashed. Add olive oil, onion, paprika, remaining parsley and 1 tsp fine sea salt and mix well.
- 4Remove octopus terrine from mould. Cut into 5mm-thick slices with a very sharp knife, then place on a cold plate. Serve with the room-temperature potato salad.
Note Agridulce paprika is a bittersweet paprika made from jarita peppers. It adds a deep pepper flavour with a hit of bitterness and is available from Simon Johnson. This recipe is from MoVida Rustica: Spanish Traditions and Recipes by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish and published by Murdoch Books ($59.95, hbk) and appeared in the October 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller. In editing these recipes for publication, we have made minor changes to bring them into Gourmet Traveller style.