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• Executive chef Tim Brater poaches the small octopi for two and a half hours. He can then peel off the skin and suckers and remove the head before the tender tentacles hit the grill.
• Scattered over the dish, tapenade made from artichoke hearts, capers, pitted olives, and white anchovies gives the dish a pungent, salty uppercut.
• Oil from the tapenade, unctuous and rich with garlic, coats the plate.
• Wooden skewers are marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic to impart an added layer of flavor.
• A few squirts of Sriracha add heat.
• Mashed purple yams, indigenous to Peru, are sweet enough to serve as dessert in some cuisines. Brater uses them as a starchy, sturdy–and stunning–base for the octopus. “The longer you cook them, the more purple they get,” he says.
• Pepitas with black pepper and salt provide some crunch.
• Brater sprinkles sugar on a wedge of lemon before charring it to bring out the burnt rind flavor.
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