Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Octopus (octopus vulgaris) is a cephalopod mollusk with 8 arms and two sets of suction pads on each one. It has a soft body, a well developed brain and big eyes. Their size can reach 1 metre including the arms and the weight can reach 10 Kg (even they are usually much smaller). They live on rocky and sandy bottoms, from the surface to 100 metres deep.

Octopus is a very well know seafood, with a great gastronomic interest on the Atlantic diet and particularly on the Galician coast. So it is very interesting to know the way it is cooked in Galicia: the typical recipe is known as “Pulpo á Feira” (Octopus Feira Style). Octopus is cooked, cut into slices and dressed with olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper.

This product is much better when served in a wooden dish. If you buy fresh octopus, check both colour and brightness are as sharp as possible. Generally octopus is sold clean with softened meat, although it is convenient to soften it a little bit more before cooking it. This can be done by freezing it for 48 hours.

The cooking time depends on the size of the octopus. A piece of 1,25 Kg will be cooked for 35 – 40 minutes. Once cooked, cover the saucepan and let it rest for 15 minutes so we avoid the skin from dropping. When serving, cut it into not very big slices and add salt and extra virgin olive oil. The final touch is to sprinkle a mixture of paprika and cayenne pepper as you like it. Once cooked, this cephalopod can be presented in many different preparations: with onion, in vinaigrette, … but in Galicia the 3 main recipes are: Feira style, “Caldeirada” (with tomato and onion) and Galician style (similar to Feira Style but with a base of cooked and sliced potatoes).

From the nutritional point of view, octopus is a food with low calories, rich in proteins (be careful if your uric acid is high), low sodium and low fat (both saturated fats and cholesterol). It is a big supply of vitamins, minerals such as thiamine, niacin, phosphorus, calcium, iron, iodine and copper so it is a perfect product for hypocaloric diets.

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