Recipe: Huevo a la rusa (Russian-style egg salad)

Despite its name, this dish is a Peruvian classic. So much so that I’ve been told it’s called “huevos a la peruana” (Peruvian-style eggs) in Chile. It is basically a spin-off of the traditional Russian Olivier salad, with the addition of eggs and golf sauce. It’s always served as an entrée, usually in “menú” (affordable set menu) eateries.

Huevo a la rusa (Russian-style egg salad)
Yield: 3 servings

Huevo a la rusa

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 cup peas
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup (preferably homemade)
  • lettuce leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Boil or steam the eggs to your liking (I steam mine for 10 minutes). Cool down with tap water. Peel, halve and reserve.
  2. Peel, cube and steam potatoes and carrots.
  3. Blanch or steam peas.
  4. Once vegetables have cooled down, mix them with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
  5. Mix the other tablespoon of mayonnaise with the ketchup.
  6. Arrange lettuce leaves on 3 plates, place vegetable mix on top. Top with one halved egg and the mayo/ketchup sauce.

Recipe: Mixto completo (sort of)

Another sandwich recipe? Really? Yeah, we still got a lot of protein bread in the freezer. Peruvians took the French classics croque monsieur and croque madame and made the poor person’s versions mixto and mixto completo. These generally contain jamón inglés (regular leg ham) and Edam cheese. The completo (equivalent to the croque madame) has a fried egg. These are normally buttered and put in a sandwich press. Another option is to heat it on a flat grill iron (or pan). When using this method, it’s common to cut a whole on the top slice of bread with a small glass or cookie cutter and pour the egg in the hole. We took the lazy route: toasted the bread in a regular toaster and melted the cheese in the pan where the eggs were cooking.

Mixto completo
Yield: 1 sandwich

Mixto completo

Ingredients

  • 2 slices protein bread
  • 2 slices double-smoked ham
  • hard cheese, to taste (Parmesan, Pecorino or aged tasty work well)
  • 1 egg
  • fat of choice
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Fry the egg and season with salt and pepper. When it’s about halfway done, drop the cheese in the same pan to melt it.
  2. Toast the bread and make a sandwich with the cheese, ham and egg.

Recipe: Pan con aceitunas

Recently I wrote about craving sandwiches from my childhood. Today’s sandwich is even simpler: it involves only three ingredients but tons of memories. I recommend using botija olives (I’ve bought them in Tierras Latinas, Flemington Markets and Loving Earth in the past) but any flavourful black olive would do. Pro-tip: next time someone you know goes to Perú, tell them to bring some olives (and lúcuma and maca), they’re way more expensive over here.

Mantequilla y aceitunas

Once again, this sandwich features the paleo-friendly protein bread.

Pan con aceitunas
Yield: 1 sandwich

Pan con aceitunas

Ingredients

  • 2 slices protein bread
  • black olives (preferably botija), pitted
  • butter

Directions

  1. Bread, butter, olives, bread. As simple as that.

Recipe: Triples in protein bread

I don’t crave bread often but when I do it’s usually in relation to childhood memories. Among other sandwiches, we grew up eating triple, which is very popular back home although there’s nothing typically Peruvian about it. Its name refers to the three different fillings that are separated by four (FOUR!) slices of bread. Yep, Peruvians eat lots of carbs, that’s why we’re all “doughy”, as Robb Wolf would say.

I’ve come across a couple of great commercially-available bread options that we use once in a while. One of them is protein bread, that is not technically paleo but grain-free and low carb. The good news is that we haven’t noticed any ill effects from the whey or pea protein it contains. The complete list of ingredients is: water, egg white, whey protein, golden flax meal, pea protein, almond meal, gluten-free baking powder, chia seeds, linseeds, sea salt, kibbled black pepper, caraway seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pepitas, and cinnamon. It tastes pretty good, is very filling and is sturdy enough to make sandwiches.

Triples in protein bread
Yield: 4 sandwiches (to feed 2-4 people)

Triple

Ingredients

  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably home-made)
  • 8 thin slices protein bread
  • salt
  • pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel, seed and chop the tomato, put in a bowl.
  2. Peel and chop the eggs, put in a separate bowl.
  3. Peel and chop the avocado, put in a separate bowl.
  4. Season the tomato, eggs and avocado with salt (optional pepper) and mayonnaise.
  5. Make two sandwiches by layering bread, avocado, bread, egg, bread, tomato, bread. Normally you would cut off the edges but I like the seeds that come with the protein bread. Cut each sandwich diagonally in half and enjoy.

Recipe: “Arroz” a la cubana

The poor person’s Peruvian dish of choice is arroz a la cubana (Cuban-style rice), which I’m willing to bet doesn’t exist in Cuba (much like our Russian-style eggs, but that’s a topic for another time). When I was a kid it I considered it a treat (sweet fried stuff for lunch!) but then I realised it was just a cost-saving strategy. Either way, it’s a dish that is deeply ingrained in my memory, and as such I crave it from time to time.

I have no issues with eating small quantities of rice but this dish needs a big whack of it to fill you up and mop up the oozy egg yolk. Thus, I used the almighty cauliflower rice instead.

“Arroz” a la cubana
Yield: 2 servings

Paleo "arroz" a la cubana

Ingredients

  • 1/4 head cauliflower
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 plantain
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Separate the cauliflower in florets and chop it briefly in a food processor until its texture resembles rice or cous cous. Don’t over-process or you’ll end up with mash.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a small pot. Add garlic and cook at low heat to avoid burning it. Add cauliflower and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt.
  3. Peel and slice plantain lengthwise. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan and fry the slices at medium temperature.
  4. Fry the eggs in the remaining coconut oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve cauliflower “rice” topped with egg and plantain slices on the side.

Recipe: Chorizo & cassava tortilla

I’m not an expert in the history of the tortilla española (Spanish tortilla or omelette), but I believe the traditional tortilla has nothing else than eggs, potatoes and onions. Outside of Spain, however, you can find tortillas with all sorts of ingredients, capsicum, chorizo and mushrooms being some of the most popular.

This time I wanted to try some chorizos from Rodriguez Bros that I bought at my local market, so I made a bastardized version of the dish. By the way, the chorizos were delicious, a bit spicy, and while they have sugar and milk in them they’re at least gluten-free.

Chorizo & cassava tortilla
Yield: 4 servings

Chorizo & cassava tortilla

Ingredients

  • 2 chorizos
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 2 small brown onions
  • 150 – 200 grams cassava
  • 6 large eggs
  • salt

Directions

  1. Cook cassava in salted water until tender but not mushy. Drain and slice.
  2. Thinly slice onions.
  3. Slice chorizo and cook in a pan (you won’t need any fat). Reserve.
  4. In the same pan, melt 1 tablespoon ghee or butter. Add onions, cassava and a pinch of salt, and cook in low heat until soft and slightly browned.
  5. Whisk eggs with a pinch of salt (you won’t need much because chorizo is usually very salty).
  6. Add another tablespoon of ghee or butter to the pan, let melt, add chorizo, and pour the eggs on top.
  7. Let cook until the eggs have almost set (covering the pan with a lid helps), then carefully use a spatula to make sure the tortilla lifts easily from the pan, and slide it on a large plate or flat pan lid (the side that was on the bottom of the pan should remain on the bottom of the plate/lid).
  8. Quickly and without hesitation, invert the tortilla on the pan so that it cooks on the other side.
  9. When it’s done, divide in portions and serve with your choice of vegetables.

Recipe: Chicken, pineapple and pecans

I was introduced to this combination many, many years ago in the form of a tasty sandwich my mum, sisters and I often ordered at one of our regular cafes back in Lima. I don’t eat bread anymore and, to be honest, don’t crave it, but just out of curiosity I’ve collected a few Paleo bread recipes that I’m slowly testing at home. This time it was the turn of Richard Nikoley’s fat bread, a recipe that sounded very promising to say the least. As described by Richard, this bread raised beautifully and kept its shape even when sliced thin.

Fat bread

Fat bread

Fat bread

That white spot is not mould, but coconut butter that didn’t mix well

Texture-wise it was surprisingly airy. Taste-wise it wasn’t as neutral as Richard describes it, but I didn’t mind the mild coconutty flavour. Testing this bread was the perfect excuse to recreate this sandwich memory from my youth, which is perfect for a summer lunch. If you choose to skip the bread, you can transform it in a delicious salad.

Chicken, pineapple and pecans
Yield: 4 – 6 servings

Pollo, piña y pecanas

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast (a.k.a. double breast)
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (preferrably homemade)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Simmer chicken breast in stock or water until fully cooked. Shred with two forks and let cool. Alternatively, use leftover roasted chicken.
  2. Mix all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve sandwiched between slices of grain- or gluten-free bread, wrapped in lettuce leaves/Pure wraps, or mixed with salad leaves and chopped veggies (celery and steamed asparagus, for example).