Wednesday, April 17, 2013

peruvian green sauce (aji amarillo sauce)

...or as sean lovingly calls it: crack.

the first time i tried this sauce was at fiesta in stamford. they bring it out in a little dish alongside some pieces of warmed baguette. presumably this little dish will also be used to accompany your meal, but in reality you'll need LOTS of extra, at least one dish per person. it's just that good. 

a few years ago i came across this article and recipe on seriouseats. you can imagine how thrilled i was, so of course the first thing i did was search for aji amarillo paste. surprisingly i found a jar at tjmaxx, then i figured out the tiny latin american market across the street from my apartment had it in stock too. armed with all the necessary ingredients, i made batches and batches of this stuff. sean and i would eat this with sliced up baguette, trader joe's organic corn tortilla chips, steamed broccoli...basically anything. 

i've since made slight variations to the sauce, omitting and adding ingredients as necessary. a few things to note:
* do not be tempted to thicken the sauce by adding a lot more cheese. the sauce may look too liquid-y at first, but it'll set up after you refrigerate it. 
* instead of the aji amarillo paste, i've also used jarred whole aji amarillo peppers. it's all blended anyway, so might as well save some money and buy the whole peppers. plus, i think they might be easier to find~
* i like to add more jalapeños for an extra kick, and i've noticed cilantro's pretty key in bringing some brightness to the sauce.

overall, the recipe is pretty flexible and always results in an amazingly addictive sauce. you'll probably want to make at least a double batch. be warned.
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:: peruvian green sauce ::
(recipe from seriouseats)
makes about 1 cup.

2 fresh jalapeños, including seeds and ribs, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste
1 cup freshly picked cilantro leaves and small stems
2 tablespoons grated cotija cheese or parmesan cheese
1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon juice from 1 lime
1/2 cup mayonnaise
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

combine jalapeños, aji amarillo, cilantro, cotjia, garlic, oil, vinegar, and lime juice in a blender. blend on high speed until smooth paste forms. add mayonnaise and blend until homogenous. transfer to a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. serve with grilled chicken. unused sauce can be stored in a covered container for up to one week.

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