Latin Twist: Peruvian Potato Salad


Yes, I love fall…but when it’s crispy blue-sky sunny outside, albeit coolish, I go through a kind of split personality thing: part of me is so excited for boot and hot soup whether, while the other part yearns to hold on to the sandals and outdoor barbecues. My solution this year? Well, my friends, I’ve decided we can have it all!

Peruvian Potato Salad

 Photo by Susie Cushner for Viva la Vida, Chronicle books 2002

So here’s my tale behind this Peruvian Potato Salad.

I’ve always been a potato lover. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the International Center of the Potato in Peru; about 12 years ago (more?!), I had a student whose mother worked for CIP, El Centro Internacional de la Papa  and she gave me the chance to visit during my stay in Lima. Okay here I need to interject that wow, the visit was amazing and I could write several pages about that (maybe in my next book! Hah!). Anyway, the chef where I was staying got someone to bring him 8 of the potatoes I was looking at…and when I got back to my hotel that night, to my great surprise, there were EIGHT different potato dishes waiting for me! (And yes, my friends, I feel even deeper in love with the potato, and, okay, maybe the chef!).

Bueno mis queridos amigos, when I was back home, and working on my first book with Chef Rafael Palomino (Viva la Vida–Chronicle Books 2002!), viva la Vida book coverhe came up with this recipe. Since then, I’ve adapted it slightly, and recreated for many barbecues both at home, and at friends’ home…. and, well, this brings me to sharing it with, today! Fresh, gorgeous, and tasty, this slightly sparky salad is perfect as we step into fall.

¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!

Latin Twist: Peruvian Potato Salad

Yield: 8 to 10

Flexible, gorgeous, and so tasty, this Peruvian Potato Salad is on that you could incorporate into your repertoire any time of year!


  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 pounds small to medium unpeeled purple, new, or baby gold potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 ripe mangos, peeled, cut from the pit and finely diced
  • 6 scallions, including light green parts, thinly sliced
  • Kernels cut from 4 ears roasted corn (or 2 cups roasted corn kernels)
  • 1/3 cup chipotle mayonnaise (chipotle purée mixed in—according to taste—with mayonnaise)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves or chives, chopped, for garnish


  1. Mix the garlic and olive oil together in a small bowl.
  2. Rub the shrimp with the garlic oil.
  3. Heat a grill pan or grill to medium high. Cook the shrimp for just 3 minutes on each side, or until pink. Let cool, and then cut into a ¼-inch dice.
  4. Put the potatoes in a large heavy pot, and add cold water to cover.
  5. Add the salt, cover, bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife.
  6. Drain and let cool to touch.
  7. Meanwhile, in a large ceramic or glass bowl, combine the mangos, scallions, grilled shrimp and corn. Toss to combine.
  8. Cut the potatoes into ¼-inch chunks and then add them to the bowl.
  9. Add the chipotle mayonnaise, and toss the contents to coat evenly.
  10. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  11. Sprinkle with cilantro or chives just before serving.


About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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