Are you ready for a culinary adventure?
There is no better place to start than Spain.
This country on the Iberian Peninsula is uniquely situated to give you a titillating taste of Mediterranean cuisine, with other influences hailing from north Africa and Europe.
With everything available, it’s no wonder people flock here for the food.
Spain truly offers a smorgasbord of flavors to inspire even the most seasoned epicurean. One of the best dishes the country has to offer is Octopus a Feira.
This simple yet rich and delicious octopus dish offers a flavorful experience for those seeking it out.
So what’s the story with this palatable plate, and how can you make it at home?
Read on to learn about its origins and discover a great recipe for home-made octopus.
A Bit of Background on Octopus a Feira
The Atlantic seas around the region of Galicia are filled with octopi. Over time, they have become mixed with other ingredients typical to the region to form the perfect palate-pleasing delight — Octopus a Feira.
This common and delicious treat is served either as a meal or as a tapa to eat along with drinks in a café.
Polbo á feira is the Galician name for this octopus dish. Its name comes from the fact that the dish was so popular at fairs (feira) and on market days, selling out quickly among the bustling market stalls.
Other common names include Polbo a la Gallego, Pulpo a feira, and Pulpo Gallego.
You won’t only find it in Galicia. Octopus is popular all over Spain ever since fishermen began pulling these tasty creatures from the water.
No matter which name you hear in the restaurant, you’ll be served the same dish. It’s a plate beautiful in its simplicity, but the ingredients are of utmost importance.
Spanish Smoked Paprika
Spanish paprika or pimento is distinguished from other types of paprika. It’s known in Spain as Pimentón de la Vera, named for the region is Spain where the paprika pepper is harvested.
Smoked Paprika is incredibly popular for flavoring all sorts of Spanish dishes. It’s made by drying and smoking the peppers for weeks at a time over oakwood, imparting an unforgettably smoky essence and flavor.
When buying it you can choose sweet, mild, or extreme levels of spiciness to achieve a hot octopus dish. The paprika is generally available online, but make sure you buy an authentic version.
The Olive Oil
Extra-virgin Spanish olive oil is essential for an Octopus a Feria. This oil is made from olives grown in Spain and is characterized by its lighter yellow color. The flavor is fruity with hints of nuttiness in a sharp contrast to Italian olive oil’s grassy flavor.
When buying your olive oil, make sure you buy it from a reputable vendor. Many online vendors will sell you different oils all mixed together. While this won’t ruin the dish, it’s certainly less authentic this way.
Make sure the description includes where the olives are grown. GringoCool assures buyers their olives are sourced from a single farm in Picual, Spain.
Fresh octopus is notoriously difficult to deal with, but brave hearted users may buy it and beat it with a mallet for 5-10 minutes to tenderize it.
For the less zealous, frozen octopus is readily available. The freezing process tenderizes the octopus for you, but don’t boast about using frozen octopus to any Galicians.
How to Make Octopus a Feira
Now that you know the basic ingredients, you can learn how to put them all together.
This recipe calls for 3 pounds of frozen octopus, 1 cup of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of paprika.
If using freshly bought octopus, clean away its ink sac and cut out its beak and any undesirable parts you see.
After that, boil a salted pot of water on the stove and proceed to dip your octopus into it a few times. This helps to further tenderize the octopus.
Once its tentacles curl, submerge it the water and boil it for two hours. Make sure to check for tenderness by sliding a knife into it. A perfectly tenderized octopus will yield easily.
Once it’s done, slice the tentacles into little ½ or 1-inch rings. Cut the body into cubes. Sprinkle it with the oil and paprika. Then, add more salt if desired.
Traditionally, the dish is served with boiled potatoes, which are placed alongside the octopus and also drizzled over with olive oil and paprika.
You Need to Try Delicious Octopus a Feira
Octopus a Feira is a Galician tradition you just can’t miss. If you’re squeamish about cooking it at home, you’ll just need to take a trip to Spain to further your culinary education.
Either way, don’t wait to try this delicious treat.