Peruvian Causa Limeña

Peruvian Causa Limeña

causa limeña

Peruvian Causa Limeña, a terrine of smashed spiced potato, crab salad and avocado

You may recall that I recently binged my way through Anthony Bordain’s Parts Unknown, fangirling on it years behind the curve (par for the course, really). I’ve discovered places that I absolutely do not want to visit, and others that jumped right to the top of a mental list that is already way too long (Burma and Spain, I’m looking at you).

In one of my favorite episodes from early on, he and his famous-chef buddy Eric Ripert* traipsed through Peru, hunting down a pretty unique form of cacao (a worthy journey for sure).  it had me seeing Peru beyond Cusco and the Inca Trail and the food, well, it’s the seafood and citrus of which all of my dreams are made.

causa limeñacause limena

One dish in particular really caught my eye and I wanted to make it right away, causa limeña. It’s a cold potato, crab and avocado terrine- perfect for these days when turning on any sort of indoor cooking flame is frowned upon and we’re looking for food that provides sustenance and substance outside the world of salad.  This hits all the marks.

Potatoes get a quick boil and mash, and some seasonings, and is then layered with an easy mayo-free crab salad (with canned crab) and some citrusy avocado. Chilled to form and eaten cold- it was one of those things that I wasn’t sure I liked upon first bite, but before I knew it, my plate was empty.

causa limena


And there you have it.

*I recently got to meet Chef Eric when his book tour for 32 Yolks hit Chicago. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy- fangirling there, too.

Recipe notes:

I made this into 4- 1/2 cup mini-terrines because serving size 1 is my reality. If you’re making this for a crowd, feel free to use a loaf pan.

Causa Limena
Serves 4
Peruvian terrine of smashed spiced potatoes, crab salad and avocado
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Prep Time
45 min
Total Time
5 hr 45 min
Prep Time
45 min
Total Time
5 hr 45 min
  1. 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  2. 1/2 TB unsalted butter
  3. 1 TB milk
  4. 1/4 tsp chili powder
  5. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  6. 1 tsp chipotle in adobo, diced
  7. 1 tsp turmeric
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1/2 pound crab meat,canned
  10. 2 limes, juiced
  11. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  12. 2 avocados
  13. 1/4 tsp salt
  14. 1 tomato, diced, to garnish
  1. Prep the potatoes: Put them in a medium pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water, bring to a boil, and cook the potatoes until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot. Add the butter, milk, chili powder, paprika, chipotle, salt and turmeric. Mix until all is well combined and the butter is melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Place the crabmeat and add the juice of 1 lime and 2 TB cilantro. Set aside.
  4. Finally, scoop out all of the flesh of the avocados and place it in a bowl. Add the juice of the other lime, remaining cilantro, salt and smash with a fork. Set aside.
  5. Assemble the terrine by lining 4 1/2 cup custard cups or ramekins with plastic wrap, making sure there is a 2" overhang on all sides. Divide the avocado mixture into the four cups and place in an even layer. Repeat with the crab and finally the potatoes. Fold the plastic wrap over the mashed potato, covering the terrine well and put in the refrigerator for five hours.
  6. When ready to serve, remove the terrine from the refrigerator and open the plastic wrap. Invert each ramekin onto the serving plate and carefully lift off ramekin. Peel off the plastic wrap, top with diced tomatoes and serve.
  1. You can make this in one loaf pan rather than ramekins
Adapted from Serious Eats
Adapted from Serious Eats
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World

Written after The Secret Life of Pets

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