Having made a sweet-spicy salsa for my first recipe, I thought I’d follow up with a creamy-savory-spicy salsa (i.e., Spanish for “sauce”). Ocopa is a traditional Andean recipe, associated with the Southern-Peruvian mountain city of Arequipa. The flavor base is a combination of roasted ají mirasol (Peruvian yellow peppers, also known as ají amarillo) and huacatay, which is an Andean black mint that the inhabitants of that region use in a lot of their cooking. The textural base to this dish is a mixture of fresh cheese (queso fresco or a similar farmer’s cheese) and evaporated milk, thickened with crackers and nuts.
Considering that I got the title for this blog from a pun on a culinary technique and a…erm…”corporeal technique” (hint: both techniques involve getting soaked), why not make the inaugural recipe one about macerating? To be clear: maceration involves softening or breaking up a food by soaking it in liquid. In this case, we’re using the mango’s own juices (drawn out by a bit of salting) along with some lime juice to soften it into a sticky-spicy-sweet salsa that goes great with salty tortilla chips. This recipe is entirely my own invention, but it uses the principles of any Latina salsa.