There's more than one way to tenderize an octopus. Cooks in Galicia, in northwestern Spain, dip the creature in boiling water three times before cooking it. We tried this method for ourselves, dipping one octopus Galician-style and putting another one straight into the pot. Then we cooked both. The triple-dipped octopus won tentacles down. It was perfect; the other one had the consistency of a garden hose. According to A. J. McClane's _Encyclopedia of Fish Cookery _(Henry Holt, 1977), dipping heats the octopus gradually, so that its proteins break down slowly instead of instantly contracting in reaction to the hot water. There are, however, other paths to tenderness: Joel Guillet, chef at Le Mas du Langoustier on the Île de Porquerolles, tenderizes fresh octopus by putting it in his freezer overnight, which is another way to break down the proteins. Lydia Shire, owner of Boston's Biba and Pignoli, reports seeing commercial fishermen in Italy tenderizing octopus by shaking it in a contraption resembling a washing machine. And SAVEUR contributor Diane Kochilas, whose most recent book is _The Greek Vegetarian _(St. Martin's Press, 1996), says that fishermen in Greece obtain the same result by thrashing octopus against a rock. Yikes! We'd rather dip.