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Today’s dish will make you look like a gourmet chef with this unique mashed potato terrine.
I must put my hand on my heart and confess- food presentation is not my thing. For me, it is all about the taste, not what it looks. But with a moderate amount of effort you can make a dish which looks like these photographs.
That’s the end of the confession. The point is this dish is easy to make and by using a simple mold, this mashed potato terrine comes out looking like a gourmet chef made it. Here is a dish you would be proud to serve to anyone.
So how did I manage to make this rather attractive, mashed potato terrine? In Peru this dish is called causa. And on our stop in Lima on our way to our cruise in the Amazon Jungle, we attended a cooking class and we were the only attendees. Lucky us.
Why You Should Attend Cooking Classes
Elizabeth and I have attended excellent, cooking classes in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Peru, as well as in Australia. But we have never attended a one-on-one session with a chef. (And if we are confessing, Elizabeth doesn’t really even like to cook, but admits she has enjoyed the cooking classes!)
What I love about cooking classes are the little hints you learn. For example:
- You can use inexpensive cutting knives if you have the right sharpening stone, saving yourself a fortune on expensive brand names knives;
- Cutting techniques – for tomatoes, onions, avocados, so the result looks beautiful;
- It’s all in the sauces and stocks. These are the foundations for making tasty dishes. Then you can dress up inexpensive ingredients so they taste like million dollar ingredients. OK I did know this but our mashed potato terrine is a perfect example of why this is so important.
A cooking class also provides the opportunity to ask your questions to an expert on all things cooking. This includes ingredients, substitutions, cooking techniques and methods and when and when not to serve dishes.
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As well, you walk away with fabulous local recipes an enough knowledge so you can make it at home. You can also gain a lot of confidence to continue your cooking journey.
Peru is a fabulous place to cook food at home or eat out at a restaurant. There is such a wide variety of fruit and vegetables available that you don’t just see anywhere else. The home of the potato, there are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from and potatoes form the basis of this classic Peruvian dish.
Causa: Peruvian for Mashed Potato Terrine
Causa is a very popular, traditional dish from Lima, Peru, served at room temperature. This mashed potato terrine uses a mold with 3 layers in total and then an attractive garnish on top.
The first layer is a tasty potato mixture, thanks to the addition of our Huancaina Sauce, lime juice and olive oil. The second layer contains tomato, avocado, olives, and a combined mayonnaise and Huancaina sauce. Our third layer is some more potato mixture.
For the final presentation, top the mashed potato terrine with hard-boiled egg, fish, salad (red) onion, some more sliced avocado, diced tomato and sliced olive, as well as a small dollop of the Huancaina sauce.
Start by preparing your Huancaina sauce and boiling your eggs. Then prepare your garnishes and causa ingredients.
For the garnish, I buy a small, white, boneless, fish fillet. Just enough to slice into 8 small pieces. Check the photographs in the post and use this as your guide. You can substitute the fish for shrimp, if you prefer.
Note that some of the terrine ingredients are also used as garnish ingredients. And, if you want to use less garnish ingredients, then that is no problem at all. Be creative with your food presentation- do what looks good to you!
If you have leftover Huancaina sauce remaining, use it in Ceviche or Lomo Saltado, two other delicious recipes from Peru.
This recipe is adapted from Gonzalo’s version of causa recipe we made in the “Full Lima Culinary Experience” tour.
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- Huancaina Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 bell peppers (capsicums), yellow cut in half, deveined, deseeded
- 1/4 onion, brown peeled, cut into large dice
- 2 ozs cheese, fresh white (queso)
- 5 soda (saltine) crackers
- 1/2 tsp salt, ground sea
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk
- 2 eggs hard-boiled
- 1 fish, fillet, white, boneless enough for 8 small portions or sub with 8 shrimp
- 1/4 onion, salad (red) sliced thinly
- Mashed Potato Terrine (Causa)
- 2 lb potatoes, yellow try bintjes, yukon golds or carolas
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp salt, ground sea
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 whole avocados peeled, sliced, reserve 8 small slices for garnish
- 5 small tomatoes finely diced, reserve some for garnish
- 16 olives sliced in half, reserve 8 halves for garnish
- Place the olive oil In a pan over medium heat. When the pan and olive oil are well heated, add the yellow peppers and onions. Stir occasionally and cook for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool down.
- Place the cooled yellow pepper mixture into a blender. Start the blender and add the remaining Huancaina sauce ingredients until it turns into a smooth sauce. Place the sauce into a bowl and store in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before using.
- While the Huancaina sauce is cooling, prepare your garnishes. Hard-boil the eggs. When cooked, place the eggs in cold water to quickly cool them down. When cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and cut each egg into 4 wedges. Reserve.
- Cut the fish fillets into 8 thin, long portions and shallow fry, very gently over a moderate heat and with a little oil, turning carefully. Drain on kitchen paper and reserve.
- Slice the red onion. Reserve.
- Peel the the potatoes and place in cold water water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until cooked. Drain, mash and allow to cool.
- Place the mashed potato in a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, lime juice and 1/4 cup of the reserved Huancaina Sauce. Use your clean hands to mix this preparation until you achieve a soft but clay type dough. If the potato mixture is not completely cool, place the bowl in the refrigerator before proceeding.
- Meanwhile, In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and a further 1/4 cup of the reserved Huancaina Sauce. Prepare your avocado, tomato and olive slices ready to put the molds together.
- Before putting together the causa, make sure you reserve 8 small slices of avocado, 8 olive halves, some diced tomato and some of the sauce mixture for your garnish.
- Place a square or round mold on a clean plate. Spoon a layer of the potato mixture and push down with the back of a spoon so the potato is densely packed into the mold. Place some sliced avocado, diced tomato and 3 olive halves evenly on top of the potato bed and then spoon some of the mayonnaise/Huancaina sauce mixture on top (don't over do it). Spoon another layer of potato mix on top. Gently press down with the back of a spoon so the top is even. Carefully remove the mold. Repeat for the remaining seven servings.
- For the garnish, carefully place a wedge of hard-boiled egg, a fish portion, some red onion, one slice of avocado, some diced tomato, an olive half and a dash of the mayonnaise/Huancaina sauce mixture.
This sounds so delicious – Love all these interesting flavors!
The secret is in the Huancaina Sauce. My word that is good!
I love taking cooking classes, especially while traveling! I love learning new tricks. This recipe looks great – thanks for sharing!
I think you also take a lot of confidence out of a cooking class. I would never have attempted such a great looking dish as this on the assumption it would be fiddly. But it was far from it, once you know all the tricks.