I was already a big fan, but my love for octopus has only grown since arriving in Spain. Even in Madrid, where there is no sea to be seen, you get super fresh octopus of which the tentacles still try to stick to your hands while cleaning them. Octopus is a relatively easy product to prepare, as long as you have the right preparation method otherwise it can become chewy. I’ve tried many methods and am very pleased with the one outlined below, the octopus turned out very soft and tender.
The ‘hummus’ that I used here contains smoked bell peppers and pimenton (smoked paprika powder) and that gives it a distinct and delicious taste. It also is great as a replacement of normal hummus on for example sandwiches.
Ingredients (for 2 people):
For the octopus:
- 4-8 octopus tentacles (you don’t eat the head of an octopus))
- 500ml of white wine
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 5 black peppercorns
- 1 large white onion, chopped in large pieces
- 2 fresh laurel leaves
- 1 teaspoon pimenton dulce (smoked paprika powder, the non-spicy version)
- pepper and salt
- olive oil
For the smoked paprika hummus:
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 250 grams of chickpeas from a can/jar
- 1,5 tablespoon tahini
- juice from a lime
- 1 teaspoon of each: cumin, pimenton dulce, cayenne pepper
- 100ml of extra virgin olive oil
For the chimichurri:
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 fresh laurel leaves
- 2 spicy peppers, one red, one green
- 1/2 bunch of parsley
- 1/2 bunch of coriander
- 1/4 bunch of fresh oregano or a tablespoon dried oregano
- 40ml white wine vineger
- 80ml of extra virgin olive oil
- For the octopus: put 1L of water with the white wine, garlic, onion, laurel leaves, pepper and octopus tentacles in a pan and slowly heat the mixture until it is almost cooking. Leave it at this temperature (almost cooking) for 90 minutes, until the skin lets loose. Remove the octopus tentacles from the liquid.
- In the mean time, grill the red bell peppers under the grill in the oven until the skin is blackened, or above a fire in case you are lucky enough to own a gas stove. Let the peppers cool down and remove the skin, chop the peppers in large chunks.
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the smoked paprika hummus (including the chopped bell peppers), and mix everything using a hand mixer until you get a smooth texture. Season with salt and pepper
- For the chimichurri: chop all the solid ingredients very small and mix with the vinegar and olive oil
- When you are ready to eat, pre-heat the grill of your oven or heat a grill pan, and put some olive oil on the tentacles, add some salt, pepper and pimenton, and grill the tentacles until they are crispy (about 4-5min).
- Place a spoon of the paprika-hummus on the plate, add one or two tentacles on top and finish with the chimichurri that you can put on top of the tentacles and the plate
- Serve this super tasty dish with some fresh bread
What to drink with this:
When there is octopus, or pulpo, involved, the Spaniards automatically go to the Gallic (Galicia) region when it comes to wine-aid. Red wine made from the Mencia grape goes amazingly well with this dish and with pulpo dishes in general. Enjoy!