In this recipe, I pair Peru's fat purple olives with queso blanco (fresh cow's milk cheese), boiled potatoes and slivered red onions, and spike the zesty dressing with hot Andean panca peppers. Starchy Russets come close to the mealy Andean potatoes that Peruvians prefer. The olives, panca and frozen rocoto peppers are available in Hispanic markets. Serve the salad warm, room-temperature or chilled with grilled fish, poultry or meat.
Add 1 tablespoon salt to about 2 quarts cold water in a large saucepan. Peel potatoes and cut them into ½-inch cubes, adding them to the water as you work so they do not darken. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain.
When cool, combine the potatoes in a large bowl with the olives, queso blanco, onion and rocoto. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and vinegar with the ground pepper, cilantro and salt to taste. Pour over the salad and toss gently to mix. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a decorative platter and garnished with cilantro sprigs. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 326 calories (51 percent from fat), 19 g fat (5 g saturated, 11.6 g monounsaturated), 19.1 mg cholesterol, 8.2 g protein, 33.5 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 677.2 mg sodium.