Ceviche de pescado—fish, typically corvina in Queens, cooked in lime juice—is such a staple of Peruvian cuisine that until just the other day I’d never tried Peruvian style octopus. Sure, I’ve had pulpo in the exquisite cokteles from La Esquina del Camaron Mexicano. Octopus is probably on the menu of every Peruvian place in Queens, but my eyes skate over it in favor of sexier seafood like jalea, that mountain of fried fish, shrimp, and calamari fortified by planks of fried yucca.
The other day pulpo al olivo jumped off the menu at El Anzuelo, spurring my friends and me to order it. Tender slices of octopus loll in a pool of mauve liquor flanked by some avocado slices and, of all things, five Keebler Zesta brand saltine crackers.
At first I thought the the liquid’s purplish hue came from octopus ink, but one taste and realized it gets its color and much of is flavor from black olives. Tender, tart, and salty it was a perfect tonic for a humid Sunday afternoon, and fun to eat piled atop the saltines. We were soon calling for more crackers.
The ceviche de pescado at El Anzuelo Fino is pretty good too. The marinade’s golden yellow color comes from a blend of orange and lime juices. For a real pick-me-up, do a shot of the cooking liquid from the accompanying spoon.
El Anzuelo Fino, 86-01 Northern Blvd., 347-808-0600