Senor Ocho and the Pulpo Gallega Incident

Last night we went to a Spanish themed Christmas party. The hostesses made a great paella and everyone brought a dish to share. I decided to be ambitious and attempt a version of pulpo de la gallega. Basically, Octopus with potatoes.

I found a medium size Octopus at Newman’s Fish Company and also purchased some baby squid to augment it.

If you’ve never handled dead, raw octopus, it’s an odd feeling. It doesn’t have any substance to it. The head might be the size of a softball, but when pressed, disappears to almost nothing. Tentacles may be two inches round at one moment and then when moved, shrink down to just a flaccid thin layer of purple slime.

After cleaning the octopus, I threw it in a pot of boiling water with garlic, onion, celery and carrot for 45 minutes. In a separate pot, boiled sliced potatoes.

After the 45 minutes, I took the octopus out — by this time I had named him Sr. Ocho — and proceeded to remove the “skin.”  I added a now vivisected Sr. Ocho to the potatoes,and tossed with celery, red onion, olive oil, blood-orange vinegar, chile flakes and smoked paprika.

Sr. Ocho was delicious.

Two hours later, I took the dish out of the fridge to bring it to the party.  While removing it from the fridge, the dish slipped. Fell about 12 inches and shattered all over the floor.

No one else will ever know how good my pulpo de la gallega was.

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