I’m very happy to present a Peruvian dish for the first time on The Leaping Llama, or to be more specific, 2 appetizers combined into one. In their more traditional form, these dishes are known as papa a la Huancaina and papa a la Ocopa. Both were born out of simplicity and necessity, which is why I am presenting them in a new form…
Affair of Two Towns (serves 4)
24 oz potatoes (yellow potatoes, in this case fingerling potatoes)
8 oz Queso Fresco (also know as fresh farmer cheese) divided into 4 oz each
1/2 cup evaporated milk (divided into 1/4 cup each)
1 Tbsp Aji Amarillo paste
2 1/2 Tbsp Huacatay paste
2 hard boiled eggs
4 Tbsp vegetable oil (divided into 2 Tbsp each) plus a dash
2 garlic cloves (minced and divided into 2 portions)
4 Tbsp pecans, crushed
1 cup evaporated milk (divided into 1/2 cup portions)
Endive leaves (you can also substitute with lettuce)
8 black olives (such as Botija or Calamata)
salt and pepper
Start by boiling the potatoes in a medium pan with a pinch of salt. The level of the water should be above the potatoes about one inch. Boil without the lid for about 15 minutes, then pierce with a fork to make sure they are ready. The best way to know that the potatoes are done is when the they offer no resistance (don’t over cook them). When they are done, peel them. Next, sautee the 2 garlic cloves on medium heat for about one minute, the set apart and divide into two equal portions
For the Huancaina Sauce:
In a blender, add the milk, the cheese, aji amarillo paste, garlic, and oil. Blend until smooth and creamy.
For the Ocopa sauce:
In a blender add the milk, the cheese, Huacatay paste, garlic, pecans, and oil. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Once the sauces are done, place the potatoes on the endive leaves and cover with sauce. Garnish with olives and serve with a quartered hard boiled egg.
This appetizer is traditionally served cold or at room temperature; however you can serve them warm if you prefer. Buen provecho!