Soltero Arequipeño // Arequipan “Bachelor” Salad

Once upon a time, salad meant iceberg lettuce, bacon bits and ranch dressing from a bottle. Today, salad means so much more to me.I have discovered the joy of eating fresh chopped veggies. I love romaine lettuce, rocket, and the color of a red leaf lettuce. I love to add the crunch of green cabbage and carrots. Tomatoes and cucumbers are often featured in salads. I add a sprinkle of lime juice or prepare a quick dressing with balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Delicious, nutritious and quick.

But salad is not always a bowl full of lettuce. One day, I ran across the Soltero Arequipeño Salad. Soltero in Spanish means Bachelor in English. But, I will be honest, I cannot imagine any bachelor I know making this salad!

This salad comes from the Arequipa Region of Peru which continues with a heavy Spanish influence which has lessened in the Lima area over the many years. It features a fresh cheese and gets a bit of a kick from carefully minced rocoto pepper.

I admit it, this looks simple and fresh. But I feel like the actual making of it can be a bit labor intensive. I suppose I say that because often when my tummy is growling and I need a quick bite to eat, I throw together one of those green salads I mentioned. You cannot start this already hungry. You will always feel like it takes too long and involves too many steps. But, if this is a dish you want to serve as part of a spring or summer dinner party, you are in luck!

The key with this salad is prepping several of the key ingredients by boiling, then cooling them. All of these can be boiled, cooled and stored for the moment you wish to actually make the salad. This will make the “throwing it together” part quick and easy.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups queso fresco
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 3/4 cup fava beans, blanched and cooled
  • 1 cup choclo, boiled & cooled
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced rocoto pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 potatoes, boiled then peeled & sliced
  • lettuce
  • black olives (optional)

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl, combine queso fresco, onion, tomato, fava beans, choclo, parsley and rocoto.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil and garlic. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Stir gently to combine and add salt and pepper. Season to taste.
  3. To serve, arrange lettuce on one side of a plate. Overlap with potato slices on the other side. Serve the salad over the lettuce & potato. Decorate with olives.

Notes

Some people prefer to dice the cooked potato and include it in the salad mixture, which is fine as well!

You might try jalapeño or habañero peppers in lieu of the rocoto. Alternatively, you could substitute red bell pepper for the rocoto if you are looking for a non-spicy version.

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