Tuesday, April 24, 2018

South American Stir Fry: Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado so many contradictions:

1.  It's considered to be a traditional Peruvian dish but it has a strong Chinese influence. 

2.  It's served, not with french fries but poured over them! 

3.  It's got french fries in it but is still fairly healthy if the fries are baked. 

4.  It's decadent, but it doesn't make me feel guilty!

In the late 1800's and early 1900's, Peru experienced a wave of immigration from the area around the city of Guangzhou, China. These people brought soy sauce and woks; then they incorporated their cooking practices with ingredients native to their new home. This way of cooking came to be known as "chifa" and today is a common type of  Peru cuisine. 

Roy and I had this yummy "stir fry" several times this winter when we were in southwest Florida where Peruvian food is very popular. I was surprised to find out that it had soy sauce in it because it had such spicy Latin flavors. Authentic Lomo Saltado gets its kick from the yellow aji amarillo pepper, which I found as a bottled paste on Amazon. A good substitute is jalapeno or Thai chilies. "Lomo" translates to loin and this recipe can be made from beef tenderloin or, as I used, sirloin steak. Another cheat is using frozen french fries instead of making your own. So one more contradiction -  it's festive enough for a weekend but easy enough for a week day meal.

Ingredients and Directions for Lomo Saltado - Serves Four

About 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak (or beef tenderloin)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced or put through a press
2 tablespoons olive oil divided
1 1/2 bell pepper - any combination of colors, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper or 2 to 3 smaller Thai peppers, sliced w/seeds & membranes removed
3 small tomatoes, sliced in lengthwise strips
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnishing 

1 small bag of frozen french fries
2 medium russet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Trim all the fat from the steak, and slice it into thin strips.

Combine the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of oil in a bowl. Whisk well, add the meat and gently combine. Set aside.

Start making the french fries. Either follow the package directions for baking the frozen french fries or follow the steps below.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4 inch wide strips by slicing them lengthwise every 1/4 inch and then cutting those pieces into 1/4 inch wide strips.

Rinse the strips and drain them. Then put them in a bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them sit for 10 minutes.

Drain them, rinse them again, then pat them dry with paper towels.

Spread the potato strips out on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (best option!) or foil.  Toss them with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread them out again so they are in a single layer.

Bake for 30 minutes, gently flipping over every 10 minutes, until nicely browned.

(These are extra yummy tossed with Parmesan cheese, minced parsley, and a smidgen of truffle oil - especially when dipped in mayo mixed with lemon juice and garlic.) 

But wait - we are using these fries for Lomo Saltado!

To continue with Lomo Saltado:

While the french fries are cooking, place the sliced bell peppers, hot peppers, onions, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet. Saute over medium low heat, about 10 minutes or until tender. 

Add the tomato slices and saute  until softened about 3 to 4 more minutes.

Remove the cooked vegetables from pan and set aside, covered.

Place the meat mixture into the same pan.

Saute until the beef is brown on both sides.

Add the vegetables and gently toss.

To serve, divide french fries among 4 plates. Ladle the Lomo Saltado on top. To garnish sprinkle a bit of chopped cilantro on top of each serving.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Salmon with South American Salsas

We are back home from spending the winter in sunny southern Florida.  It was getting so, so hot down there and I was complaining that I wished the temperatures were cooler. What was I thinking?!
I woke up this morning to snow showers and 31 F degrees. I know that when it does get to be spring here, it will probably roar right into summer. Meanwhile, this salmon dish reminds me of the South American restaurants I loved to go to in Florida. Lots of eateries were blends of the best of different countries like Argentina and Peru. The green Chimichurri Sauce is usually served with an Argentine steak but I found out it goes great with salmon. I left out the diced red bell peppers, so feel free to include them to be totally authentic. Likewise, I riffed on the traditional red onion relish Criolla Salsa by adding spiralized cucumbers. The cucumbers could be cut very thinly as well instead of being "zoodled". Enjoy and think warm thoughts!

Salmon with South America Salsas - Serves Four


1 medium sized cucumber
1 medium red onion - divided
Juice of 1 lime - about 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt - divided
1 bunch fresh cilantro - divided
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes - divided
1 bunch fresh flat leaved parsley
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 salmon fillets
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt


Make the Cucumber "Criolla Salsa" by spiralizing the red onion or thinly slicing it. Place the onion slices in a bowl of ice water for at least five minutes so they won't taste bitter. Meanwhile, spiralize or julienne cut the cucumber and place it in a bowl with lime juice , 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. After their "soak", drain the red onions, pat them dry with a paper towel. Hold back enough red onions to make 2 tablespoons diced (for chimichurri sauce) and add the remainder of them to the bowl. Gently toss and set aside. 

Make the chimichurri sauce by placing in a blender or food processor: 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, 1/2 cup parsley leaves, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 2 finely minced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and the 2 tablespoons diced red onion that was set aside. Pulse of process until the mixture is combined but still retains a somewhat coarse look. Set aside until serving time.

Pan fry the salmon by placing 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Heat to medium high and place the fillets skin side down in the pan. Sprinkle the seasoning salt evenly over the 4 fillets. Cook for 5 minutes. Juices should be oozing up to the top surface of the fillets. Flip over to finish them off, cooking them another 4 minutes.
To serve, divide the Cucumber "Criolla" between four serving plates. Place a salmon fillet, skin side down, on each plate and spoon the Chimichurri Sauce over each one.