The reality is I haven't been all that far from home! I write the recipes after going out to different restaurants, trying new dishes from every culture I can find, playing around with different spices, and lots and lots of internet research!
The one place I have been is Bermuda. I lived there for a few years, and people just like me were living there from all over the world, working and staying away from home. Meeting people who grew up in other countries was one of my most valuable recipe research tools. I had seasoned taste buds ready and willing to tell me if my food tasted anything like what they were used to back home.
My good friend from Peru was a tester on this recipe. Papa a la Huancaina is a Peruvian salad of boiled yellow potatoes in a spicy, creamy sauce. I made it one night and asked him if he thought it tasted like they make it down in Huancayo, a city in Peru (Papa a la Huancaina = Huancayo style potatoes.) “It’s very similar, but also very different” was his reply. I didn’t mind his vague opinion; I was too busy stuffing these delicious cheesy potatoes in my face!
Many recipes for Papa a la Huancaina use boiled potatoes, but I think roasted taste 10 times better. No need for foil, just rub with a little olive oil and salt.
The cheese sauce is simple, put everything in the blender and you’re done!
It comes out a nice thick cheesy consistency.
Chop the potatoes into large bite sized pieces and arrange them on a serving platter.
Then just pour the cheese sauce over them and top with the eggs, parsley, and olives.
This dish is often served cold in Peru, and it is great for a picnic that way. But this time of year I like to warm the sauce a bit and eat it hot with a nice piece of beef (for a twist on meat and potatoes).
Dan Whalen should avoid reminding himself of life in Bermuda when there is a foot of snow on the ground in Boston. Check out his blog at The Food in My Beard; check Dan’s Tablespoon profile often to try his recipes with creative international spins!