Recipe: Ensalada de palmitos y palta (hearts of palm and avocado salad)

I make variations of this salad every time I cook a Peruvian-themed meal. What makes it Peruvian? The avocado, palmitos, botija olives and the fact that is seasoned with lime juice and olive oil. Serve as a side for pretty much anything.

Ensalada de palmitos y palta (hearts of palm and avocado salad)
Yield: 4-6 servings as a side dish

Ensalada de palmitos y palta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of lettuce, leaves torn
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 3 radishes, sliced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 palmitos (hearts of palm), sliced
  • 10 black olives (preferably botija)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Prep ingredients and place in a salad bowl.
  2. Season with lime juice, olive oil and salt.

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: Solterito de queso

Today’s recipe comes from Arequipa, the second most important city in Peru. One of the city’s most popular dishes is a salad called solterito (literally means “little bachelor”), made with rocoto (a red chilli that resembles a capsicum but has a black stem and is hyper hot), broad beans, corn, red onion, olives and queso fresco (cow’s fresh cheese).

As I always say, it’s better to use Peruvian ingredients if possible. If you’re keen, queso fresco and Peruvian olives can be found in Tierras Latinas and Flemington Paddy’s Market; a Peruvian/Bolivian kind of corn that’s not sweet (called mote) can be found in its dried version in Tierras Latinas and Fiji Market; cooked and jarred Peruvian corn kernels can be found in Tierras Latinas; jarred rocoto can be found in Tierras Latinas and sometimes Fiji Market.

But don’t stress about the ingredients and give it a go with whatever you can find in your local supermarket. This time I used a small amount of chopped bird’s eye chilli instead of rocoto, the olives were kalamatas and the cheese was a Cypriot haloumi.

Solterito de queso
Yield: 6 servings as a side

Solterito

300 gr broad beans (fresh or frozen, weight after removing pods if fresh)
1 corn cob or 2 trays baby corn (baby corn works better because it’s less sweet)
1/2 small red onion
rocoto or other red chilli to taste
20 olives
200 gr queso fresco, Haloumi or Australian feta
lettuce, baby spinach, or mixed salad leaves
1 lime
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Blanch the broad beans in boiling salted water for 30-60 seconds, place in water with ice and peel them.

Cook the corn in boiling water until tender. If using regular corn, cut out the kernels with a knife. If using baby corn, chop it in 1 cm slices.

Finely slice the onion and place in a bowl with water.

Finely chop your chilli of choice.

Quarter the olives.

Cut the cheese in cubes or strips.

Drain the onion, mix all ingredients in serving bowl and season with the lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Note: the traditional version does not include salad leaves and often has boiled potatoes.