When Zarela Martinez first visited the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to begin researching her forthcoming book on the cooking of Oaxaca, she was served this dish in Juchitan—and promptly fell in love with the region’s cuisine as typified by this creamy blend of tangy, sharp, and hot flavors.
- 2 1⁄2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3⁄4 cup Mexican crema, a cultured heavy cream (or sour cream)
- 2-3 tsp. American yellow mustard
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut in pea-size dice
- 1 cup shelled fresh peas
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1⁄2 cup pickled pearl onions, drained
- 1⁄2 cup chopped pitted green olives
- 1⁄4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place potatoes in a large pot of salted water and cook over medium-high heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, then mash in pot with a potato masher or fork. When smooth, stir in egg, crema, and mustard. Whip until fluffy.
- While potatoes cook, bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots, cook until tender, about 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon, refresh in cold water, and set aside. Add peas, cook until tender, about 2 minutes, then drain, refresh, and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped onions and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add parsley, cook for 1 minute, then stir mixture into mashed potatoes. Add carrots, peas, pickled onions, olives, and jalapeños, and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a buttered 2-quart baking dish. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.