Our local Spanish restaurant, Jaleo, has a great octopus tapa. It is octopus with olive oil and smoked paprika. I have managed to create a version of it that might not be quite as good, but is still darn tasty. My version is shockingly easy (and cheap!). The secret to my version is that it uses canned octopus. Fresh octopus is great when you can get it, but I haven’t seen it available anywhere.
Octopus is not usually a “go-to” side dish, but using canned octopus makes it really easy. With whole octopus, fresh or frozen, you have to give it a long boil. With the canned variety, however, it just needs a quick fry on the stove. I am not sure if it is the way it is prepared or the canning process, but the texture also ends up great. It is firm, without being chewy or stringy.
I have only tried Goya Octopus (pulpo) in Olive Oil, but I am sure there are other varieties out there. I used smoked paprika as a flavoring, but you could use powdered garlic or some other dried herbs like oregano or rosemary instead. Serve with some crusty bread and put out some tooth picks for picking up the octopus.
Spanish Style, Octopus Tapa
1 can octopus in olive oil
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- Empty entire can, octopus and oil, into a small frying pan.
- Heat the pan over a medium heat, it should be hot enough to sizzle and foam but turn the heat down if it starts to splatter.
- Stir occasionally, cooking for 10-15 minutes until the skin and small tentacles look crispy.
- Towards the end, sprinkle in the paprika or other flavorings and stir.
- Transfer to a pretty dish.