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.
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.