Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau, and Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.
I’ve enjoyed ceviche many times in Mexican restaurants, but never Peruvian ceviche, and never in my own kitchen. And as for papas rellenas? Nope – never tried them. I love ceviche – it’s cool, clean, and light. Which is a good thing when paired with papas rellenas, as they are definitely NOT light. Papas rellenas are stuffed potatoes that are then rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Potatoes and deep-fried are two words that rarely, if ever, appear in the same sentence when it comes to our kitchen. This was definitely uncharted territory for me, but I was up for it!
I started with the ceviche. I found some large sea scallops that I decided would be perfect for it. (In the interest of full disclosure, they were flash frozen. Not optimal, but I’m land-locked and super-fresh scallops are just not that readily available.) As I went through the process of making it, I wondered why I’d never made it before. It was simple – just a quick whisk of garlic, chile, cilantro, and lime, toss in the seafood, top with onion, and a brief stay in the refrigerator to “cook”, and I had a lovely appetizer worthy of company. The ceviche was lovely – it was light, with just a touch of bite from the chiles, and a fresh lime flavor. If I closed my eyes, I could just about imagine being on a beach somewhere. This was definitely a recipe to keep in my back pocket when I need to entertain.
The papas rellenas weren’t as simple, but that’s not to say that they were difficult. They did take time, however – definitely not a weeknight recipe. I made the mistake of using large russet potatoes, which took a long while to boil. And then there’s the whole frying thing, which once the oil is heated, only takes a few minutes, but frying is still “special occasion” for me, because it uses so much oil and requires a good deal of clean-up. All in all, the filling was wonderful. I opted to use an all-natural beef breakfast sausage I’d purchased from a local rancher instead of the ground beef called for in the recipe, just to boost the flavor. The addition of chiles, olives, raisins, and garlic truly brought the flavors together. I could eat that filling by itself.
The finished papas rellenas were not my favorite – they seemed heavy to me. Of course, I’m not a huge potato fan, and we’d enjoyed a big lunch already that day, so I was really not in the mood for something so filling. Brittany, who was with us for dinner, enjoyed them a great deal. I served them with a jarred chipotle salsa (Is that cheating, when it comes to Daring Cooks? If so, whoops, and pretend you never read that!), which complimented the flavors well.
A big kudos to Kathlyn for this challenge, and for giving us a bit of insight into Peruvian cuisine. This was a good challenge!
2 lbs sea scallops, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I cut mine into quarters)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 c freshly squeezed lime juice
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Place the scallops in a large non-reactive bowl (glass is great for this). Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Whisk together the garlic, jalapeno, lime, and cilantro and pour over scallops. Toss well to evenly coat. Top with red onions. Refrigerate for 10 minutes up to 8 hours, or until desired “doneness” is reached. (I marinated for about 30 minutes) Remove from lime juice and place in dishes, topping with a few onions for garnish.
Serves 6 as an appetizer.
Gluten-Free Papas Rellenas
For the dough:
2¼ lb russet potatoes
1 large egg
For the filling:
2 T of a light flavored oil
½ lb ground (minced) beef (I used beef sausage)
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
½ cup raisins, soaked in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 t ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
½ t sweet paprika
¼ c white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste
For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup soy flour, 1/3 cup tapioca starch, and 1/3 cup brown rice flour, whisked together
Dash cayenne pepper
1 cup dry gluten-free bread crumbs (I dried out some slices of gluten-free bread in the oven, then processed in the food processor)
Oil for frying (enough for 2” in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)
In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.
Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred). Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.
While the potatoes are cooling, gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes) in a large skillet. Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes. Add ground beef and brown. Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds). Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add olives and cook for a few moments longer. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”
Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
Heat 1 ½ – 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 – 190°C). Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides. Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.