MADRID IS ONE OF THE POWERHOUSES OF INNOVATION, WHERE A TRADITIONAL DISH MAY UNDERGO A MAKEOVER THAT RENDERS IT UNRECOGNISABLE TO THE INHABITANTS OF ITS BIRTHPLACE. BUT WHEN DONE WITH RESPECT FOR THE INGREDIENTS, SOMETIMES CULINARY CHANGE CAN BRING ABOUT SOMETHING EXCELLENT. PULPO A LA GALLEGA IS A SIMPLE DISH OF OCTOPUS SLICES RESTING ON DISCS OF POTATO COOKED IN THE SAME WATER AS THE OCTOPUS. IT IS SERVED ON A PLATE AND DRESSED WITH OLIVE OIL AND PIMENTÓN. THIS VERSION IS BECOMING QUITE POPULAR IN MADRID AND ACKNOWLEDGES THE EVOLUTION OF CHEF SKILLS AND DINER EXPECTATIONS — WITHOUT CHANGING THE INGREDIENTS AT THE HEART OF THE DISH. THIS TERRINE IS SET WITH NOTHING MORE THAN THE GELATINE NATURALLY OCCURRING IN THE OCTOPUS.
Plunge the octopus tentacles into a large saucepan of boiling unsalted water for 15 seconds, then remove. Return the water to the boil, then repeat this plunging process another four times, allowing the water to reach boiling point between each immersion. On the last immersion, leave the octopus in the saucepan, reduce the heat to barely a simmer, then cook for 30–40 minutes, or until tender — the outside pink layer should be intact. Remove the octopus from the water and leave until cool enough to handle.
Trim the tentacles to the same length as the terrine mould, measuring from the thick end of the tentacles down. Place them in a bowl, add the agridulce paprika and half the parsley and mix together well. Arrange the legs top to tail to fill the terrine, using the smaller legs to fill the gaps. Cover with plastic wrap, then place a heavy weight on top of the octopus and refrigerate overnight.
Several hours prior to serving, place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potatoes and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel. Place in a large bowl and crush with a fork until roughly mashed. Add the onion, olive oil, smoked sweet paprika, sea salt and the remaining parsley and mix well.
Remove the octopus terrine from the mould. Using a very sharp knife, cut into slices
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