Octopus, as it is prepared in Galicia, is a delicacy with exceptional flavor. It enjoys enormous popularity, but only experienced cooks can cook octopus so that it is neither tough nor overcooked. This dish is often eaten on feast or market days and from time immemorial ditto during Lent. Today it is found all over Spain, and in Galician bars and restaurants it is served as a tapa.
Clean the octopus, invert the body pouch and carefully remove the intestines, head and ink sac. Remove the chewing tools. Peel the skin from the body pouch and tentacles and soften the octopus with a pestle without, and indeed, damaging the suckers.
In a large saucepan, bring a small amount of unsalted tap water to a boil and, with the arms hanging down, dip the octopus leisurely three times into the bubbling tap water. Slide the octopus into the saucepan and sauté for about 45 minutes. Prick it to test for doneness. When the octopus is tender, remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside for about 15 minutes.
To serve, remove the octopus, cut into relatively fine strips or small pieces (preferably with scissors) and offer on a plate. Salt, drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the paprika. Serve hot or warm on the table.
Tip: Use fleshy olives for even more enjoyment!