Causa is a sort of South American answer to the Lowland European stoemp, a mash-up of potatoes and other substances that could serve as an app, a dip, or a main course.
Causa is a working-class delight enjoyed along the coastal tableland of Peru, a repurposing of the Andean potatoes that make up a large part of the upland menu.
On its native soil, the dish is often pedestrian enough, the spuds creamed with fish, hot yellow peppers called aji (“ah-hee!!!”), mayo, and lime juice. Very tasty, but low on the understatedness.
NYC’s new Peruvian cevicheria at Madison Square, La Mar, has caused a sensation, not really for its rather pedestrian main courses, but for its little apps and snacks, most involving raw fish.
Causa has been rejiggered as three tiny humps of colored potatoes, tasty but expensive. Here are the three and see if you can identify which is which:
Limeña — fishermen escabeche, heirloom cherry tomatoes, avocado, ocopa sauce, and quail egg; Nikei — tuna tartar, wasabi aioli, avocado puree, flying fish roe, and nori; Oliva — Spanish day-boat octopus, piquillo peppers, avocado, quail egg, and Peruvian black olive emulsion.
And before you complain about the inclusion of Japanese ingredients, remember that a Japanese guy was recently prime minister of Peru.
La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
11 Madison Avenue
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