Greek Salad w/ Quinoa, Octopus & Chick Peas
- 1 small octopus or pulpo* about 1 ½ - 2 pounds (750 g – 1 kilo) total, or 1 1/2 cups prepared pickled octopus
- ½ cup Extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 3-4 fresh oregano sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup quinoa
- 15 cherry or teardrop tomatoes halved
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 small fennel bulb diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 ½ cups cooked chick peas good quality canned are fine
- 1/2 cup of any chopped fresh herbs of choice basil, mint, oregano, parsley, cilantro, dill
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Salt pepper to taste
Clean the octopus or pulpo: Cut off and discard the sack just below the eyes. Cut out the beaklike mouth. Cut along the tentacles into individual pieces. Place in a medium saucepan with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic, the oregano sprigs, bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover and cook over very low heat until the tentacles are tender, about 35 – 40 minutes. Set aside.
Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover by 3 inches / 7/5 cm. Bring to a gentle boil, salt lightly and cook for about 15 minutes, until tender and popped. Drain.
While the quinoa is cooking, sauté the onion, fennel and garlic in a 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat.
Remove the octopus from the pot, drain and cut into chunks. (If desired, you can add a little extra texture and flavor by searing it slightly in a ridged, nonstick frying pan before cutting.)
Combine the quinoa, octopus, onion-fennel-garlic mixture, tomatoes, chick peas and herbs in a mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon zest. Toss with remaining olive oil and vinegar and serve.
If octopus is too exotic for you, feel free to substitute it with about 2 cups of any seafood of choice, such as calamari, mussels, or shrimp, or any combination of them.