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
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
200 gr queso fresco, Haloumi or Australian feta
lettuce, baby spinach, or mixed salad leaves
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.