Jul 11, 2010

Cooking Pulpo Paul aka Paul, The Octopus

Today all are watching the World Cup finals, Spain v. Netherlands, with bated breath. Many are wondering if the oracle Pulpo Paul [aka Paul, the Octopus] who has had an enviable winning streak will be correct with his selection of Spain for the championship. Right or wrong there is no denying this seafood is certainly a conversation starter and has piqued our interest enough to do a quick piece on the topic of the day...

Source: CNN Mexico
Octopus is a delicacy and not a common entree selected when dining out and if you ever have, it has likely been sweet, tender and chewy. By poaching their tentacles in oil for several hours (like a confit) the octopus becomes extremely tender. In addition, the octopus absorbs intense flavors of lemon, fresh oregano and cracked black pepper, wonderfully. As my Uncle Arlen puts it "one of the nicest seafood dishes I have ever tasted...it 'na-ice.' You mus' try it." If Pulpo Paul's prediction is wrong, I am sure Dutch fans will take great pleasure in eating Paul at the nearest restaurant so here's a picture for a good chuckle. By the way the Spanish love Pulpo, Galician-style, so they would be very open to 'breaking bread' along with friendly banter with Dutch fans.

"Pulpo Gallego" [Paul - Galician style]
Bite-sized octopus w/ sweet paprika & potatoes w/ extra virgin olive oil
Source: Sacha Page

Feeling adventurous at home? Try this easy recipe: -
  • 1 large Octopus (at least 500g) cleaned
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
The cooking process is really a braise – and so a great opportunity to give some extra flavor to the octopus that already has an amazing texture (like you are eating a seafood steak). Once the octopus is thawed and cleaned, cut off and discard its little head and place the octopus in a large pot with enough water to cover.
Add a bay leaf, halved onion, peppercorns and aromatics of your preference (tend to go for fresh oregano). Simmer for about 40 minutes, poke with a fork into the thickest part occasionally after half an hour. When it has passed the fork test (goes in easily), you are all set.

Place under cool running water to remove the dark pink outer surface and let it cool completely. Chop, chop into bite sized pieces, and put into a marinade.

For a cool, summertime octopus salad
Fresh oregano is an amazing flavor match for the octopus, so use plenty – about 1/4 cup. Also add nice big chunks of seedless cucumber. Also, one onion chopped into bite sized pieces, juice of 1/2 a lemon, freshly ground black pepper and 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic. Add a 50/50 mix of oil and vinegar to cover.
Let the salad sit for at least an hour in the mix and if possible overnight in the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature then serve…

Source: timeinthekitchen

This intriguing white-meat has many possibilities - Octopus sushi, octopus vinaigrette and what of pizza? Would you fancy octopus as a topping? Bringing it local, for some reason, I have a feeling Jerked octopus with white rum aka 'whites' would be a 'hot seller'. You think? :-) Or even Jamaican ackee with octopus could rival the common complement, Norwegian codfish. Do you have any suggestions? I’d love to hear them.

Post script - Nutritional Highlights*

Octopus (cooked, moist heat), 3 oz. (84.9g)
Calories: 139
Protein: 25.3g
Carbohydrate: 3.7g
Total Fat: 1.7g
Fiber: 0.0g
*Excellent source of: Iron (8.1mg), Selenium (76mcg), and Vitamin B12 (30.6mcg)
*Good source of: Zinc (2.8mg)

* Note: High in cholesterol and sodium

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value, based upon United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the USDA Recommended Daily Value. Nutritional information and daily nutritional guidelines may vary in different countries. Please consult the appropriate organization in your country for specific nutritional values and the recommended daily guidelines.

* Source: mothernature.com


  1. Pulpo Paul with hollandse frites!

  2. I recommend the soon to be 'Juici' exclusive and true delicacy - "Pulpo Patty"

  3. @Rachel - You are definitely a Dutch fan :-)

    @Lindberg - DWL...That's very original. Limited supply in Jamaica haha!

  4. Lol. Pulpo Patty? What a concept - I can see it now Octopus patty with Cocoa bread and of course, Red Stripe. How about Curried Octopi in coconut milk?

  5. Haha! Curried Octopi - I like your creativity. RIP Pulpo Paul


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