Cookbook

Potatoes - Papa a la Huancaína :rectnt *PIC*

Papa a la Huancaína

Papa a la Huancaína is a traditional Peruvian specialty featuring potatoes (said to have their origin in this country) which are topped with a mildly spicy, rich cheese sauce. The dish may be served at room temperature with potatoes and sauce slightly warmed (my preference), at room temperature or chilled. Depending on the quantities and presentation of the ingredients, it can be served as an appetizer, salad, side dish – or even a one-dish meal.

For a beautiful presentation, place potatoes atop a bed of deep green leafy lettuce, surround with an artful arrangement of hard-cooked eggs, fresh tomatoes, avocados and black olives and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs. (See photo).
We enjoyed the "pa-pas" very much -- beautiful to the eye, tasty to the tongue, and satisfying to the stomach!
Makes 8 generous (one-dish meal) servings
BTW, as much as my husband appreciates and enjoys my cooking, I have rarely heard him rave the way he did when I served this dish!

Ingredients:

8 large potatoes (Yukon Gold, Russets, or other varieties - may use a variety)
8 large eggs
for the Sauce:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup onion
4 cloves garlic
1 – 2 jalapeño peppers, (traditionally uses “Ají Amarillo,” a hot yellow chile peppers, but jalapeños were suggested on one website as an alternative)
2 cups evaporated milk, or as needed to obtain desired consistency
8 ounces Muenster-style cheese, (suggested as an alternative to some of the more traditional cheeses)
1 packet Goya Sazon with Cilantro and Annatto (for color)
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black or red pepper
12 saltine crackers, or as needed to obtain desired consistency
Accompaniments:
8 - 16 large, pretty lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry & cut in 1/2-inch "ribbons"
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion (or more, to taste)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra sprigs for garnish
Fresh lime juice
Salt or Adobo seasoning
4 tomatoes, cut in wedges
2 avocados, seeded & peeled and cut in thin wedges
8 hard-cooked eggs (see above), sliced or cut in wedges
24 - 32 black pitted olives
Ground black or cayenne pepper

Instructions:

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, then bring to a boil over high heat.
When water boils, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and continue cooking just until potatoes are tender. (Do not over cook)!
Drain water.
Set the saucepan under the faucet and run cold water over them until cool enough to handle.
Peel potatoes and set aside.
Place the eggs in a separate smaller saucepan, cover with cold water, then bring to a boil over high heat.
When water boils, reduce heat to medium low and cook gently for 13 minutes.
Drain water, then shake and bounce pan to crack egg shells.
Immediately, place the saucepan under the faucet and run cold water over the eggs until cooled.
Peel eggs and set aside.
To make the sauce:
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the onions, jalapeño, and garlic, then sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not browned.
Remove the skillet from the heat and cool slightly, transfer the mixture to a blender, then blend until smooth.
Add the milk, cheese and Goya Sazon, then blend again until smooth.
With blender running, add crackers, one at a time until sauce is thick.
(If necessary, add additional crackers or milk to obtain desired consistency).
Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
Potatoes and Sauce may be served slightly warmed, at room temperature or chilled.
To assemble:
In a bowl, toss together the lettuce ribbons, onion and chopped cilantro.
Line plates with the lettuce mixture.
Drizzle with fresh lime juice.
Sprinkle lightly with salt or Adobo seasoning.
Cut peeled potatoes crosswise in 1/2-inch slices, then arrange sliced potatoes across the center of each plate, using one potato per plate. (If desired, use a variety of potatoes on each plate).
Pour about 1/2 cup sauce over the potatoes.
Artfully surround the potatoes and sauce on each plate with 1 hard-cooked egg, 1/2 tomato, 1/4 avocado and 3 to 4 olives.
Sprinkle lightly with ground black or cayenne pepper.
Garnish plates with fresh cilantro sprigs.


Recipe written by LuAnn Bermeo, based on several sources as well as an experience in a Peruvian restaurant (Photo is of the actual dish, as prepared in my kitchen. Note, this particular time, I did not cut the lettuce in ribbons, but used whole leaves.)

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