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Pulpo a la gallega

Alejandro Callegari from United States

20 minutes
Cooks in
50 minutes
Country of origin

At the age of 13, my mother took my two sisters and I on an extended summer vacation in Spain while my father stayed in Miami to tend to the restaurant. During this trip we traveled coast to coast where we visited the small house where my mother was raised. We ate fresh baked bread, vegetables that where grown in her back yard and drank homemade wine. I can vividly recall looking out an open train window as we passed what seemed like an eternity of Olive Tree’s and where I had previously tasted the fresh pressed Olive Oil for the time. But it was during our time spent at the Coastal Region of Galicia that I had an Epiphany. The abundance of fresh seafood like sardines, octopus and fish where all simply prepared with such perfection. I watched as they prepared the octopus its tentacles were slow-boiled. After the octopus was done cooking, the Galicians would snip the purple tentacles into little medallions with scissors, discarding the mantle or “head.” They garnished it with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, and pimentón (smoked paprika), and served it with boiled potatoes. As a formative young man it was awe inspiring and of course delicious! The locals had such pride in serving authentic Galician cuisine and I loved the way it brought the families together around the table. Today this dish has become my three son’s favorite meal. It represents a deep rooted love of Spanish cuisine and culture which is deeply embedded into our family’s DNA and I am passing it on to my children. Food is Love and that summer trip and my mother taught me that.


  • 3 lbs octopus
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 3 Garlic tooths minced
  • 1 TBSP smoked spanish paprika
  • 1 TSP course sea salt
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Bay leaf


  • Fill a large soup pot with water add salt and bay leaf, enough to submerge the octopus.
  • Spook the Octopus by dunking it completely into the water three times and the last time allowing it to stay in the water.
  • Allow the octopus to cook for 40 minutes under a steady simmer. Then remove the Octopus and allow to cool.
  • In a small sauce pan add Olive oil and minced Garlic and on a low heat allow garlic to cook until just beginning to change color.
  • After the octopus has cooled cut the tentacles off whole, rub generously with olive oil and place on grill until skin has shown nice grill marks.
  • Remove from the grill and cut the tentacles into round medallians. Toss with Olive oil and garlic, salt, paprika and juice from 1/2 lemon.
  • You may wish to garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy.


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