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.
Tapas such as octopus with paprika are not only common in bars—at home, when guests arrive, it is common to serve a small homemade tapa or something to nibble before sitting down to the meal. What we Spaniards love about tapas is the philosophy of life they represent. It’s an unhurried, enjoyable and sociable time, and involves being in good company and catching up with friends, discussing business or even politics. This leaves us with a much happier heart, and often ready for a siesta if the tapas have been plentiful.–Inés Ortega
*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
- 2 1/4 pounds octopus
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Pinch hot paprika
- Salt optional
- 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.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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.