Octopus Appetizer, Spanish Style – Step-by-Step Recipe

Octopus is one of these foods that are taboo for many people.

But it is also a very healthy food. It contains a high amount of collagen, like squid but unlike fish. This is because octopus’s collagen provides the support that bone structures do for fish.

The human body’s main protein is actually collagen: about 15% of our dry weight is pure collagen. Eating collagen rich foods is said to be healthy for your skin, your joints, tendons and ligaments, your hair, your nails, and your bones. It has been a practice in China and Japan for centuries.

Eating collagen may help the overall formation of collagen in the body, according to a paper published in the Archives of Dermatological Research in 2008.

It’s good to note that many experts are not convinced that eating collagen rich foods really benefits our skin. So, the topic is definitely controversial.


The Spaniards, especially in the North of the country, love octopus, and it is a part of culinary traditions. You can also find recipes with octopus in most Mediterranean countries. It was also consumed in England many years ago but most of it is now exported.

We regularly eat octopus at home; it is quite expensive and is eaten as an appetizer most of the time. It is highly nutritious, and a small portion is more than enough.


This recipe will enable you to cook a whole octopus. You can then freeze the legs of the cooked octopus. It freezes very well, and all the collagen helps to keep the texture and the taste when you defrost it.

Serves 4 – Prep. time 20 min
1 whole octopus, cleaned, ready to be cooked
paprika powder
extra virgin olive oil

Place the octopus on a kitchen board. You can cut off the head, but I cook it with the head on and then cut it off. The head can be either discarded or eaten warm with some seasoning. It is not as tender and delicious as the legs, though.


Add cold water to a large cooking pan, and place the octopus in the pan:


Bring to a boil.

Do NOT add salt, as the octopus still contains sea water, which is already salty.


Let it simmer, covered, for one hour.

No less, and no much more.

Longer cooking would make the collagen dissolve too much and the octopus would be too flabby.


After one hour of simmering, take the octopus from the water and place on a board to cool:


Once it’s cool, cut the legs and the head off.

Place the legs on a plate, cover and chill in the fridge.

Then, add some paprika powder and olive oil.


You can also cut the legs into bite-size pieces and then add paprika powder and olive oil. Some people like to add a few grains of coarse sea salt, too, but personally I like it without.


Enjoy this delicious and healthy Mediterranean food!


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