Octopus with paprika is a popular Spanish tapa offering, made with 4 simple ingredients. And it’s quick—taking octopus from frozen to tender and savory in minutes.
*How do I keep octopus tender?
The first step in this recipe is to freeze your octopus overnight. Don’t even think about skipping this as it’s there for an important reason. Not to get cephalopod super-technical about it, but the freezing forms ice crystals that create micro-lacerations in the flesh and, long story short, there you go. Tenderized octopus.
Octopus With Paprika
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 45 M
- Serves 6
To tenderize the octopus, you need to freeze the octopus overnight before cooking. Don’t skip this part.
When you’re about 45 minutes away from your desired serving time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the frozen octopus, and cook until tender, about 35 minutes, depending on the size and age of the octopus. You’ll want to test a piece of octopus to ensure it is cooked thoroughly. Drain the octopus and rinse it under cold running water.
Remove and discard any dark skin from the octopus. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the octopus into bite-size pieces.
Place the octopus in a bowl, pour the oil over the top, sprinkle with hot paprika to taste, and season with salt, if desired. Mix well, ensuring the octopus is thoroughly coated. Serve immediately or transfer the octopus and oil to a heatproof bowl, cover with aluminum foil, and keep warm in an oven that’s as low as it goes. Originally published July 13, 2010.
Sweet Paprika Variation
Heat 3/4 cup olive oil in a pan over low heat. Add about 1/4 of an onion, roughly chopped, and 1 garlic clove and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in sweet paprika to taste. Add the flavored oil to the octopus pieces, mix well, and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This has to be the simplest possible way to prepare octopus. If you think it’s too simple to be good, think again. This is a great recipe for folks who live inland, because you can start with frozen octopus and cook it directly from the freezer. Make sure your olive oil and paprika are of good quality, and you’ll have perhaps the easiest, and most delicious, tapa you’ll ever make.