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Weekend recipe: Lima’s octopus with white quinoa and botija olives

Erick Andia Pomar

Pulpo con Quinua Blanca y Puré de Aceituna Botija
Octopus with white quinoa and botija olives

Serves 4

1 octopus, cleaned (without the head)
240g white quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus an extra 2 teaspoons
½ white onion, diced
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
50g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
180g Peruvian black Botija olives
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
borage flowers, to garnish

1. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil over a high heat.

2. Meanwhile, place the octopus in a large bowl and rinse under cold running water until the water in the bowl is clear and the octopus skin feels clean, with no traces of grit. Transfer the octopus to a chopping board and cut the tentacles from the body.

3. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the tentacles, stirring gently – they will curl up. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, place the lid on top but partially open and cook for 1 hour. Then turn the heat off, cover the pan tightly with the lid and leave to stand for a further hour.

4. Carefully transfer the tentacles to a baking paper-lined baking sheet, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.

5. When ready to serve, rinse the quinoa in cold running water until the water runs clear, then drain.

6. Place the quinoa in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and add water to cover by 5cm. Cover with the lid and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Stir, re-cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes – the quinoa is ready when you can see a little ring on the outside of the grain and it is soft. Rinse in cold water, then drain well.

7. Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate saucepan over a medium-high heat and sauté the onion and garlic until transparent. Add the cooked quinoa gradually, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

8. Add the Parmesan, stirring until it has melted and mixed in completely. Keep warm.

9. Heat a sauté pan until hot, add the 2 teaspoons olive oil and cook the tentacles until the skin is slightly charred. Keep warm.

10. Place the olives in a blender and blend for 3 minutes, then pass the olive purée through a sieve and set aside until you are ready to garnish the dish.

11. Arrange the cooked quinoa in a line across the dish and top with the seared octopus pieces, then garnish with the olive purée and borage flowers.

Recipe taken from Lima the cookbook by Virgilio Martinez, available here