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Peruvian Causa with Potato, Crabmeat and Avocado

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“This is just potato salad,” celebrated chef Norman Van Aken said Friday during the Culinary Institute of America’s Latin Flavors, American Kitchens symposium. Of course, with a pound of crabmeat, it’s a bit more than that. It’s a light, refreshing salad that gains from the addition of avocado, sherry vinegar, Creole mustard and Tabasco.

Van Aken, progenitor of Floribbean cuisine, didn’t stop with the potatoes. He layered the  dish with the causa on the bottom and topped it with a piece of sautéed fish. On top were microgreens tossed in a passion fruit vinaigrette and a sabayon on the side.

Peruvian Causa with Potato, Crabmeat and Avocado

3/4 pound new potatoes, scrubbed
1 1/2 teaspoon Creole mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Spanish sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 cup corn kernels, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute
1/2 cup inner celery ribs, rinsed and finely chopped
1 cup crabmeat
1 Hass avocado
1/4 cup olives, Niçoise or arbequina, pitted and chopped
1 tomato, skinned, seeded and chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced

Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Drain and chill.

Whisk the mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, Tabasco sauce and thyme together in a bowl.

Peel the potatoes and dice into 1/4-inch cubes. Combine diced potatoes, corn, celery and crabmeat. Toss with dressing.

Gently fold in avocado, olives and tomato. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the chopped chives.

Makes 4 servings.

From Norman Van Aken/Culinary Institute of America

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