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Taste Of
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Travel to Barcelona


Taste of Barcelona - Pulpo Con Escalibada at El Betlem

1 April 2015

Opened in 1892, and boasting a storied history and numerous proprietors, Barcelona’s El Betlem is now a gastro bar run by chef Victor Ferrer Galán and serving cuisine that respects the restaurant’s heritage, including this octopus dish


For the Pulpo Con Escalibada: 

1 octopus tentacle
1 aubergine
2 onions
1 red pepper
50ml olive oil
Black pepper 


The tentacle should be frozen to break down the fibres and make it soften. Once defrosted, clean the octopus 

Immerse the octopus in hot salted water and remove it quickly. Repeat this process three times. Boil for 40 minutes 

Burn the skin of the aubergine in a hot pan, and then place it in an 180˚C oven for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool, and then remove the skin and slice the flesh

Bake the onions for 90 minutes at 200˚C, allow to cool, remove the skin and slice the flesh 

Bake the red pepper for 15 minutes at 200˚C, turn over and bake for another 15 minutes. Allow it to cool, remove the skin and slice the flesh 

Marinate the vegetables in salt, black pepper and olive oil Grill the octopus for a few minutes to colour the skin a little, and cut into slices 

Arrange the vegetables on a large plate, place the octopus on top and dress with salt and olive oil 

Originally opened in 1892, El Betlem has survived two wars, dictatorships, globalisation and the era of fast food and big shopping centres. It has done this by combining classic flavours with modern cuisine. After five years of managing El Betlem as a traditional deli, its owner and chef, Victor Ferrer Galán, decided to transform it into a gastro bar, while maintaining the authenticity of the food and respecting the restaurant’s history. Octopus is very popular in Spain, and particularly in Galician cooking, because of the access to such high-quality seafood. 

This recipe is a combination of a traditional dish from Catalonia and Galician seafood. It’s common to eat octopus with potatoes in the Galician style (with paprika), but this dish is freshened up by combining the Galician grilled octopus with traditional smoky Catalan Escalibada (roasted vegetables, served cold), rather than the heavier, warm potatoes.

Image: Mari luz Vidal