Pulpo a la Gallega (Grilled Octopus with Potatoes)

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José Andrés adds a clean copper penny to the saucepan to replicate the traditional technique of cooking octopus in a copper pot. The chemical reaction of the copper and the octopus gives the tentacles a gorgeous purple tint.  

Pulpo a la Gallega (Grilled Octopus with Potatoes)
Photo: Christopher Testani
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 35 mins
Yield:
4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 clean penny (see Note)

  • 1 (5 1/2)-pound octopus, cleaned

  • 1 1/4 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • Flaky sea salt

  • Parsley leaves, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring 8 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt, peppercorns, bay leaf and the penny. Holding the octopus by the head, carefully and quickly dip the tentacles into the water 3 times, then lower it into the pot. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until almost tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. If necessary, place a plate over the octopus to keep it submerged.

  2. Add the potatoes and cook until the octopus and potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes more. Transfer the octopus and potatoes to a work surface; discard the braising liquid. Separate the tentacles and cut the head in half. Using a paper towel, wipe the purple skin off the tentacles, leaving the suckers intact. Thinly slice the potatoes and arrange on a platter.

  3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the octopus with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Grill over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Arrange the octopus on the platter with the potatoes. Drizzle with the lemon juice and more olive oil. Sprinkle with the paprika, flaky sea salt and parsley leaves; serve.

Notes

Andrés adds a clean penny to the saucepan to replicate the traditional technique of cooking octopus in a copper pot. Soak the penny in distilled white vinegar and salt for 10 minutes, then scrub it clean before using.

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