Many of my friends and acquaintances have asked me for my famous chimichurri recipe, and here it is! But be warned, this is not your typical chimichurri recipe.
Papas con maní (“potatoes with peanuts”) is a sort of Andean-Peruvian comfort food. Put simply, you make a creamy savory sauce out of ground toasted peanuts, and then serve it hot over sliced potatoes. It makes a great vegetarian meal, as it’s meat-free but packed with protein. This dish has been a favorite at my Peruvian Food Orgies, among vegetarians and carnivores alike. It’s sort of like eating potatoes with molten peanut butter than has been flavored with garlic and onions. Delicious.
Ah, anticuchos. The thought of them brings me back to childhood, and the slightly acidic aroma of the marinade sizzling over charcoal conjures up memories of family picnics in the park in Canada where, despite all the talk of multiculturalism, we were reminded of how foreign we were. Nothing quite says “not from around these parts” like barbecued organ meats, eh? In a nutshell, anticuchos is a grilled meat dish, made by marinating cubes of beef heart in a strongly acidic marinade and then grilling them on skewers.
It’s currently 37ºC in Berlin, and the last thing I want to do is turn on the stove. I just made ceviche this afternoon (although the pictures date from an earlier version back in Chicago), and so I was inspired to put together this recipe while the fish marinates. This ceviche was made with corvina, but it can be adapted to nearly any sort of seafood by changing the marinating time and the contents of the marinade.
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.