If you’ve never thought much about Spanish wine, now might be the time to start. The 2007 vintages, recently arrived in New York, represent a stellar year for Spain’s vineyards, and the price-to-quality ratio bests much of the competition from Napa, France, or Italy. We asked Tía Pol wine director Mani Dawes and Suba sommelier Roger Kugler to recommend three bottles under $20. Then we turned to three of the city’s best Spanish chefs and asked them for delicious accompanying dishes. All the wines are available at Dawes’s East Village wine shop Tinto Fino (85 First Ave., nr. E. 5th St.; 212-254-0850).
“Pulpo a Feira (Galician-style octopus) and Albariño de Fefiñanes are both from the same general region of Spain—Galicia. Our wine director, Mani Dawes, says the Fefiñanes is the best of the aromatic Albariños. It has a citrusy quality and nice finish. I haven’t been to Galicia since last year, but in tasting these two, I was back there again for a moment.”
A pot of water large enough to accommodate your octopus
Kosher or sea salt as needed
1 onion, cut in half
1 bay leaf (1/2 if it’s strong)
2 black peppercorns
1 large octopus (no less than 4 pounds), defrosted
6 Carola potatoes, peeled (available at Union Square Greenmarket). Substitute: Yukon gold
Sherry vinegar, a splash
2 tablespoons sweet paprika mixed with 1 teaspoon hot paprika
Coarse sea salt (Maldon salt is great for this)
Salt the water aggressively as for pasta.
Bring to a rolling boil with the onion, the bay leaf, and the peppercorns. Once boiling, hold the octopus by the head and dip the legs in the boiling water for a few seconds and remove it. Repeat this 3 times. Release the octopus in the water and cook at a medium boil until tender (this can be as little as 25 minutes or as much as 1 hour). Insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg after 20 minutes—it should have the slightest resistance going in and nearly none coming out. When cooked, remove the octopus to a platter and chill, loosely covered. Reserve 2 quarts cooking liquid.
Once chilled, cut off and separate the legs as close to the head as possible. Discard the head. Slice the legs in ˝-inch-thick coins.
While the octopus chills, cook the potatoes until just tender in the reserved cooking liquid. When done, remove to sheet pan, splash with sherry vinegar, and let cool.
TO SERVE: Slice the potatoes, and arrange on a plate. Arrange the octopus slices on top, and warm briefly. Dust with paprika mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Finish with sea salt. (serves 4)