Basil Crema de Ají

If you've ever had Peruvian food, you might have tasted these simple but addictively delicious baby potatoes with a spicy cream sauce they call crema de ají (pronounced CREHmah deh Ah-HEE), ají meaning chili pepper.

Well tonight is the last night of fridge cleanout week, and I happen to have a few Russets that have been laying around for a few weeks, so while they're not the perfect little baby potatoes to go with this dish, they'll provide that tender earthiness that plays so well with my Basil Crema de Ají, which, aside from making a delicious accompaniment to my potatoes, would also be delicious drizzled straight atop that cornmeal crusted tilapia I also plan to make tonight.

Today's fridge cleanout ingredients...

Leftovers combined with a little extra acid in the form of vinegar or lemon or lime juice plus a little bit of olive oil would made a great salad dressing as well.

Basil Crema de Ají
Makes about 1 cup

- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 hot chili pepper, chopped (I used a Black Cobra from my garden today, but a small habanero or Thai chili would also work great. Or if you can get a hold of Peruvian yellow chilies, that would of course be awesome)
- 1 Tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Whiz it all in a blender (or with a stick blender) until it's smooth. Adjust seasoning if needed and whiz a few more seconds if you do just to make sure everything's evenly distributed.

If you like a slightly creamier texture, try using 3/4 cups mayo and 1/4 cup yogurt. You could also use sour cream instead of the yogurt, but yogurt's what I had on hand.

Serve with steamed, boiled or roasted potatoes. Also delicious with roasted asparagus. :)





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