Sunday, May 25, 2014

52WoC Week 18: Peruvian - Causa de Limeña

I have been very fortunate to spend the last year living with a good friend who happens to be Peruvian. When I asked him what to make this week, he suggested making a causa. A causa is a potato based terrine that normally has avocados, hard boiled eggs, and some sort of mayonnaise based salad - typically chicken. I decided to go with a very simple causa and just stick to the basics, excluding the mayo based salad all together. It makes for a hearty side that has the right balance of fat, spice, and acidity. Not to mention it is the perfect dish to play around with in various molds. Have an old Jello mold of a brain you never get to use except on Halloween? Now is your chance to try something different.

Causa de Limeña

Qty Ingredient Procedure
4 medium yellow potatoes
  1. Boil the potatoes whole in salted water until tender. Let cool and peel.
2 serrano peppers1
  1. In a food processor combine oil and pepper (without seeds or membranes) until smooth.
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tbsp lime juice
  1. Mash the potatoes with the serrano mixture and the lime juice until smooth.
2 hard boiled eggs
  1. In a mold layer potato then sliced avocado, then more potato. Top with hard boiled egg slices and red onion shavings.
1 avocado
1 avocado

Start off by boiling the potatoes whole in salted water. This helps prevent the potatoes from gaining too much moisture during the boiling process. Once tender, about 30 minutes, remove from the water and let cool. You need to peel these and trying do do so while they are still hot is not a fun way to burn off your finger prints, so I recommend waiting until they have cooled off a bit. While the potatoes are cooling, take the seeds and membranes out of the serrano peppers and combine them in a food processor with the oil until smooth. You want to use a neutral oil like canola for this mixture as using something like olive oil impacts the flavor of the pepper.

Mash the peeled potatoes with the pepper mixture and the lime juice and season with salt. You are looking for this to be acidic and have a nice bit of heat without being overwhelming. Now you are ready to start layering your causa. I used a muffin tin for mine as it was easy to make personal sized causas. You can also use a pie pan, cake pan, loaf pan, or whatever weird shaped pan you have, it doesn't matter. Line your container with plastic wrap and put in layer of mashed potato. Top that with the avocado then another layer of mashed potatoes to top. Flip it out of the pan, take the plastic wrap off and top it with the hard boiled egg and red onion. There isn't a lot to this dish but it packs a ton of flavor in each bite. Because of the pepper and the lime juice, it's surprisingly fresh tasting for a potato based dish and works perfectly for your summer time cook out.

  1. The preferred pepper for this is an aji pepper - a yellow Peruvian pepper that is fresh and spicy. I was not able to find one while I was out in Philadelphia but if you can, it will make the dish that much better.  

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