I gave fair warning to my research assistants that the recipe was not an authentic recreation of the spicy Peruvian potato dish. But you know how people like to bitch, particularly when it comes to some small nugget of information they know. I let the Peruvian vent and verbally edit my recipe back to his version of ‘authentic’. Then I reminded him that authenticity was not the intent. I was never big on recreating dishes out of homage to authenticity or tradition anyway.
That said, here is the version we tried.
- 2 lbs of small potatoes (red, yukon, purple, whatever)
- 3 T Olive Oil
- 1 t each of chopped garlic, salt, pepper, smoked paprika
- 1/2 C Whole Milk
- 1/2 C Queso Fresco, crumbled
- 1/2 C Feta, crumbled
- 2 T Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1 T Half & Half
- 1 T Shallots, chopped
- 1 T Olive Oil
- 1 T Aji Amarillo (Peruvian Yellow Pepper Sauce)
- 1 t Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 t Garlic, chopped
Put all the potato ingredients in a Ziploc, close, shake to blend all the spices and coat the potatoes, then remove potatoes to baking pan. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Remove and let the lot come to room temperature.
While the potatoes are doing their thing, mix the breadcrumbs with the milk and half & half. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Place the breadcrumb-milk mixture along with all the other sauce ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Depending on what sauce consistency you want, you could add more cheese to thicken or add more milk to thin; keep in mind this will thicken up a bit in the fridge, which is where is will go next for about 30 minutes.
Spoon about 1/4 C sauce on a plate, arrange a few potatoes, some key lime wedges and halved kalamata olives. Apparently the limes and olives are a traditional garnish, which is kind of ironic since the recipe isn’t.
Out of the 4 assistants we had 3 thumbs up and one middle of the road response, which was me. We all agreed we liked the small roasted potatoes better than the more traditional boiled, sliced potatoes. I was the lone critic of the seasonings. To me it was too salty, an artifact of using feta in the sauce and salt in the potato coating. Also the chopped garlic in the potato coating got a little burnt. On the presentation side the paprika sort of obfuscated the colour of the tri-coloured potatoes. Also the sauce was not as yellow as I wanted. Next time I would use all queso fresco in the sauce and make a garlic infused olive oil to roast the potatoes, omitting the chopped garlic and the paprika. A pinch of turmeric should pop the yellow colour of the sauce.
If only all problems were so trivial to fix!