Norman Van Aken, © 2001
The connective tissue between Peru and the rest of the world may just be potatoes! No country has given us more in regards to potatoes than Peru and the thrilling topography it can boast. A Peruvian Causa is basically a potato salad type of dish served cold with whatever the cook wants to feature. While it is often served in a layered presentation I’ve gone with a simpler construction. In Quechua, the language of the Peruvian Sierra, “causa” means a “complete meal”, due to the high nourishing qualities of this dish. It is not only delicious in taste, but its beautiful colors and contrasts, make it an appealing dish to serve at any event.
Yield: 6 Cups, (Serves 6-8)
¾ pound new potatoes, scrubbed
1 ½ teaspoon Creole mustard
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons Spanish sherry vinegar
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon Tabasco
2 Tablespoons minced chives
½ teaspoon minced thyme leaves
1 Cup corn kernels, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute
½ Cup inner spears of celery, rinsed and finely chopped
1 Cup crabmeat, cleaned
¼ Cup pitted Niçoise or Arbequine olives, chopped
1 perfectly ripe Haas avocado, diced
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tomato, skinned, seeded and chopped
Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes, (depending on the size of the potatoes). Drain them from the water and chill, (they will slice better this way.)
Whisk the mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, Tabasco and herbs together in a bowl.
Peel and discard the potato skins. Dice them into ¼ inch cubes. Now combine them with the corn, celery and crabmeat. Toss with the dressing.
Fold in the avocado and tomato very gently. Top with the chopped olives.
Serving Suggestion: Put the mixture on a large platter with a variety of potato and or corn chips surrounding it. If you’d like to serve this individually you could nestle the salad inside of some lettuce leaves.