There’s a lot to love about Peruvian food. It’s one of the clear breakout stars of global cuisine the past few decades, producing some of the most talented chefs and celebrated restaurants in the world. Though Peruvian chefs—in and out of Peru—have impressed with high technique and dazzling haute style, a simple Peruvian rotisserie chicken is still one of my great food loves. One of the reasons I keep coming back for those slow-roasted birds marinated or rubbed in warm spices like cumin and paprika is that addictively perfect, creamy, and spiced green sauce that accompanies most Peruvian chicken. The almighty aji verde.
Aji verde is wonderful on chicken, of course, but arguably as good on fish, skirt steak, pork tenderloin, and vegetables, and so easy to make there’s little excuse not to have some on hand all summer long to break out with any grilled feast. Peruvian chef José Luis Chavez, who helms the kitchen at Mission Ceviche in New York City, knows a thing or two about aji verde, and shared the recipe for his version with us to make at home.
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Chavez calls on bright Peruvian spices, fresh cilantro, and jalapeno along with aji amarillo paste (yellow pepper), raw garlic, and onion—known in Peru as the “Holy Trinity”—all whipped in a blender until light and smooth. Some recipes call for a dab of mayonnaise or avocado to achieve a slightly thicker, creamier sauce, should it be desired.
Chef José Luis Chavez's Aji Verde
- 2 ounces diced white onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño
- 2 tablespoons confit aji amarillo
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 4 tablespoons of Canola oil
- 1 pasteurized egg yolk
- Fresh black pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
- Toss the garlic and onions in a pan and confit in oil until it turns a golden color.
- Cool the mixture down and reserve.
- In the blender add cilantro, jalapeño, aji amarillo confit, onions and garlic, pasteurized egg yolk, vinegar, oregano, black pepper and salt to taste.
- Blend until very smooth drizzling the oil in drizzling slowly to emulsify.
Aji Amarillo Paste, $9.49 on Amazon
Hurom Blender, $349 on Amazon
Header image courtesy of Getty Images