I remember the first time I ate squid: I was down the Jersey shore, it was fried calamari, and my friend's dad told us it was chicken. My uber-picky nine-year-old self was less than thrilled to learn the truth after polishing off a plate of the stuff. Fortunately, my post-adolescent self has come around on cephalopods. I created this dish as a throwback to my honeymoon in Spain, where the hubby and I polished off plate after plate of pulpo with potatoes, olive oil, and smoked pimenton. Yum yum yum. But since that preparation has already been perfected, I give you this Galician classic with a big ole American twist: octopus potato salad! —MeghanVK
For the salad
3-lb octopus, thawed if necessary
medium-to-large-potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it heavily. With kitchen shears, snip off the spindly ends of the octopus tentacles and slice through the upper webbing. Cut through the tentacles, removing them from the head. Simmer the tentacles for an hour, and then add the potatoes. Cook for fifteen minutes more and then check both the potatoes and octopus for doneness - the potatoes may be done earlier; if so remove from the pot. When the octopus can be pierced easily with a knife, remove and drain.
Meanwhile, make the pimenton aioli dressing: toss the garlic in a blender with the egg yolk, lemon juice, paprika, and ¼ cup oil. Pulse briefly and then start the motor: slowly pour in the oil through the top hatch in a thin stream. Once the mixture has begun to thicken and emulsify, you can pour faster. Taste for seasoning. Obviously, you may also do this by hand, with a whisk - in that case, crush the garlic into a paste as much as possible beforehand.
Cut the tentacles into pieces roughly the same size as your potatoes. Combine the octopus, potatoes, and red peppers with pimenton aioli until lightly coated (you will probably only need half - use the rest on sandwiches, roasted fish, as a dressing... it's delicious). Serve warm.