One of my favorite potato dishes

... this SilverStringer spent years in Peru

By Joan Alcala

Potatoes with cheese and hot pepper sauce is known in Spanish as "Papas a la
Huancaina" and is from Huancayo in the Peruvian highlands at 11,000 feet. It is a
favorite of mine and a typical highland dish, very Indian, especially in the use of
the local herb palilo, which colors food yellow. Turmeric, used sparingly is an
admirable substitute.

This recipe is from page 219 of "The Book of Latin American Cooking" by Elizabeth
Lambert Ortiz; Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, New York, 1979.

Papas a la Huancaina:
Potatoes with cheese and hot pepper sauce
Serves 8 as a first course or 4 as a light lunch

1/4 cup lemon juice                                                                                              
1 teaspoon pallilo, or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper                                                                               
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
Salt, freshly ground pepper                                                                                   
2/3 cup olive oil  
1 medium onion, thinly sliced                                                                               
Lettuce leaves
8 medium potatoes                                                                                               
4 hard boiled eggs, halved
3 cups coarsely chopped Spanish                                                                          
2 or 3  ears of corn, cooked and cut into 8 slices
Fresh cheese (queso blanco or queso fresco), or use Muenster cheese
8 black olives
1 or more fresh hot yellow peppers, seeded  and chopped, or use red or green peppers

In a bowl combine the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Add
the onion, separated into rings, and set it aside to pickle at room temperature.

Boil the potatoes in their skins until tender. Drain, peel and keep warm. In a
blender or food processor combine the cheese, hot peppers, pallilo or turmeric, and
the cream. Blend until smooth. Heat the oil in a skillet, pour in the cheese
mixture, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon,
until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

Garnish the platter with the lettuce leaves. Arrange the potatoes on the platter and
pour the sauce over them. Arrange the eggs, corn slices, and olives around and in
between the potatoes. Drain the onion rings and arrange them over the potatoes.

August 3, 2012

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