Serious Eats: Recipes

Potatoes and Summer Squash with Black Mint Sauce

Thick, creamy, intensely-spiced sauces are an essential component of Peruvian cooking. Dairy, usually some combination of milk and fresh cheese, is blended with flavorful herbs or chiles as well as thickeners like bread, crackers, and nuts. Black mint sauce is one of these canonical sauces. It's traditionally made with huacatay, a mint-like herb that's a member of the marigold family. Black peppermint isn't huacatay, but it's more commonly available in some places and makes for a decent substitute.

Here is my version of black mint sauce, kept on the simple side. You can spoon it on roast chicken, or, as I've done here, on thinly sliced potatoes (another Peruvian staple) and zucchini for a light summery dish. I've opted to use aji amarillo, a mother chile in Peruvian cooking. If you can't find it, a bright chile like aleppo or cayenne would do. The amount here will lend a tinge of chile heat and flavor, but feel free to add more. Alternately, this dish loves some hot sauce—I add plenty tableside.

Black mint is stronger and less floral than typical mint. You can get a rough substitute by combining three parts mint to one part cilantro.

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