They love octopus in the northwest corner of Spain, in Galicia, where every tapas bar features a dish of boiled, paprika-scented octopus with potatoes.
1 1/2- to 2-pound octopus, cleaned
1 1/2 cups fino sherry
3 cups water
2 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled, plus 4 large cloves, peeled and finely minced
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 lemon, sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 pound waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in N-inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt to taste
1. Place the octopus in a medium saucepan and cover with 1 cup of the sherry and the water (the liquids should just cover the octopus). Add the 2 smashed garlic cloves, peppercorns, lemon, and 2 teaspoons of the paprika. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently, covered, adding the potato slices during the last 20 minutes of the cooking, until the octopus is tender, about 45 minutes. When the octopus is cooked, remove for heat and keep covered.
2. While the octopus is cooking, place the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauté pan over moderately low heat. Add the remaining garlic cloves to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until garlic is softened. Increase heat to high, and add the remaining 1/2 cup of sherry and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of paprika. Boil the liquid until it is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat, and whisk in the 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
3. Remove octopus from cooking liquid, and slice into serving pieces (shapes are up to you). Arrange with potato slices on 4 individual plates, drizzle the sauce over all, and top with coarse salt to taste. Serve immediately.
They love octopus in the northwest corner of Spain, in Galicia, where every tapas bar features a dish of boiled, paprika-scented octopus with potatoes. But this dish is a little bland and austere for most American palates -- so we have pumped it up with garlic and olive oil. Serves 4 as a first course.