Often called the national dish of Peru, causa is a layered salad, made with one of the region's key contributions to world cuisine: the potato! Cultivated there for over 8,000 years, up to 200 varietals of potatoes may grow in a single Peruvian field today...some with a bright yellow flesh. Because these yellow potatoes aren't readily available in the U.S., turmeric adds the characteristic hue in this recipe. Layered with crabmeat and topped with a colorful trio of red pepper, avocado and olives, causa can be made ahead for a light warm-weather supper.
4 cups cut-up, peeled Yukon gold potatoes
Juice of 2 limes, divided
1 teaspoon dried turmeric (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces canned lump crabmeat, drained and flaked*
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup light mayonnaise-type salad dressing
Vegetable oil spray
2 ripe (but slightly firm) avocadoes, peeled and diced, divided
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 romaine lettuce leaves
3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced, for garnish (optional)
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)
Before you begin: Wash your hands.
- Place potatoes in a large pot; cover with water. Bring to a boil, cook for about 20 minutes until fork tender.
- Drain, reserving liquid. Cool potatoes to room temperature.
- Transfer potatoes to a food processor; add about 1 tablespoon of the reserved liquid. Using the pulse action, mash the potatoes to a somewhat smooth consistency. Add the juice of 1 lime, turmeric (if desired), and salt and pepper. Continue the pulse action to blend the flavors and develop a uniform yellow color. Cool.
- Combine the crabmeat, green onions and dressing in a medium bowl.
- Spray an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, then line the pan with plastic wrap, overlapping so that the causa can be fully covered once assembled in the pan.
- Spread half the potato mixture in the pan, pressing firmly to fill the corners of the pan. Layer the crabmeat mixture over the potatoes. Top with half the diced avocado. Then layer the remaining potato mixture over the avocado.
- Cover with plastic wrap; chill for at least one hour.
- Meanwhile combine the red pepper, remaining avocado, olives, cilantro and juice of remaining lime in a medium bowl. Chill until ready to serve causa.
- To serve, arrange romaine lettuce on a serving plate or on six individual plates. Unmold the causa onto the serving plate, or cut 6 slices to arrange on individual plates. Top with the avocado-red pepper-olive mixture.
- Garnish eggs slices and cilantro sprigs, if desired.
* Another option: Substitute canned or cooked shredded tuna or chicken.
Calories: 310; Calories from fat: 130; Total fat: 15g; Saturated fat: 2g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 55mg; Sodium 320mg; Total carbohydrate: 32g; Dietary fiber: 7g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 15g