Pulpo a la Gallega | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

PULPO a la Gallega
PULPO a la Gallega

Now that the Lenten season is here, those who abstain from meat on Fridays for religious reasons may once again be looking for new ways to serve seafood and vegetables.


In consideration of this, the Maya Kitchen recently arranged for chef Luis Gonzalez to demonstrate some seafood recipes that are traditional in Spain.


Hailing from Santander in northern Spain, Gonzalez knew early on that his calling in life was to be a chef. He has warm memories of playing by the ocean in the summers, and of fishing for octopus and other seafood which they would then cook in the family kitchen.


After finishing his degree in Artxanda, Bilbao, Gonzalez worked with Juan Mari Arzak, who is acknowledged as the Father of Modern Spanish Cuisine. Stints in other renowned Spanish restaurants such as El Bulli, El Celler de Can Roca, Mugaritz and Nerua-Guggenheim soon followed.


Now chef of Gallery Vask in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Gonzalez serves Western cuisine with Asian influences. A firm believer in healthy cooking, he believes that his customers should feel just right, but not full, when eating in his restaurant. He himself cooks only simple meals at home—mostly grilled meat and vegetables, he says.


Gonzalez also thinks that modern and traditional styles of cooking need not clash. Rather, they can complement each other, or sometimes can even be very similar, except for the presentation.


The Pulpo a la Gallega he prepared, for instance, used the same ingredients for both the traditional and modern ways.  One big difference, however, was that the modern version of this rustic dish served the octopus (pulpo) with a potato foam, while the potatoes for the traditional style were just sliced into circles (as grandmothers in Spain would do it).


A signature dish in Galicia, Pulpo a la Gallega is made more hearty and delectable with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of paprika.


Other dishes Gonzalez prepared (using seafood from Mida Food Distributors) were scallop black ink risotto, and bacalao al pilpil con pipperada.


Here’s my own take on his recipe for Pulpo a la Gallega. Since I couldn’t find octopus, I used large squid instead—and the dish turned out delicious just the same. Serve this with some nice crusty bread (rather than with rice) as they do in Spain.


Pulpo a la Gallega


  • 1 ½  k octopus (or 3 large squid totaling about 1 ½ k)
  • 12-16 c water, for boiling
  • 2-3 large potatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp sweet (or spicy) paprika


Clean the octopus or squid, removing all the ink. In a large cooking pot, bring the water to a boil. Dip the octopus or squid twice in the boiling water then put the octopus/squid in the water and let boil for one hour or until tender. Remove the octopus/squid from the water and reserve the water. Cut off the tentacles from the octopus/squid and slice the body into thick (not too thin) pieces.  Similarly, slice the tentacles into serving pieces.


Peel the potatoes then slice them into circles (around 1/8-inch thick). Boil the potatoes  in the same water used for boiling the octopus. Cook until the potatoes are tender but still firm, then remove them from the water.


Arrange the potatoes in a circle inside two to three serving platters or shallow bowls. Put the sliced octopus/squid and the tentacles on top of the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Makes around two to three platters. If desired, serve with crusty bread.


For more tips, recipes and stories, visit author’s blog: www.normachikiamco.com and Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/normachikiamco. Follow on Twitter @NormaChikiamco.


Cook’s tips:


  • Remove the potatoes from the water as soon as they’re tender but still firm.


  • If using squid, after it has been cooked, slice the squid open then cut into serving pieces. This will approximate the look of the octopus when the octopus is sliced.


  • Remove the head of the squid but you can include the tentacles.


If desired, you can sprinkle some chopped parsley on top.