Recipe by Nico Vera
Take the aji amarillo, smoky, with a slow-burning ﬁre that lingers, make it into a paste and blend it with cooked and mashed purple potatoes, add some olive oil, salt and lime juice, and you’ll have a Causa. Likely named after the Quechua word kausay, meaning sustenance or energy, causa is typically served in a casserole with a tuna salad ﬁlling or as small timbales topped with savory seafood. This Peruvian potato salad is creamy, cool, spicy, and nourishing, all at once, and a perfect dish to honor the earthiness of the potato, one of Peru’s gifts to the world.
Nico Vera is a Peruvian chef and Pisco mixologist based in San Francisco, California, where he promotes Peruvian food and culture through pop-up dinners and cocktail classes. You can find his recipes and calendar of events on his blog, Pisco Trail.
Calories per serving: 262 per serving
Prep time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 60 mins
Total time: 1 hour 40 mins
4 small Yukon Gold potatoes
juice of 2 limes
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp aji amarillo paste
1 5-oz can of albacore tuna in spring water
salt to taste
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup mayo
1 avocado, peeled and cut into slivers
fresh dill for garnish
(In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need a pot to cook the potatoes, a potato ricer, and bowls to mix the ingredients.)
1. Boil the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover them. Cook until fork tender, 20-30 minutes.
2. Peel and press the potatoes through a ricer and into a bowl.
3. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil, juice of 2 limes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon aji amarillo paste into the bowl, and mix with potatoes to make a purée. The purée should have a creamy consistency that is stiff enough to be shaped. Cover the bowl and chill for 30 minutes.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the tuna, diced onion, and mayo. Add salt to taste if needed.
5. Shape potato purée into timbales and top each serving with a sliver of avocado and a dollop of the tuna mix.
7. Garnish with fresh dill and serve cold.