First up, artichokes, or as they are called here: alcachofas. In the US, I generally thought of artichokes as a rarity, an unusual food that you know about but don't frequently have occasion to buy. In Chile, it is a very common vegetable - you even see vendors in the streets walking around to cars at stoplights selling them. They also look a little different, with the leaves open instead of closed in a point. I think they are much prettier, though they taste about the same. They are MUCH cheaper though - we just bought 3 for $2 at the market this weekend (I think they are often $2 each or more in the US).
Even Caroline has taken a liking to them. We mostly just steam them and then peel the leaves and dip them in garlic butter as a snack.
Next up, pebre! This is basically chilean salsa, but it's different enough from standard American/Mexican salsa that it tastes like it's own thing. It's the usual ingredients - tomato, onion, cilantro - but then mixed in with something called ají crema. This is like a hot sauce made from the ají pepper. I think it tastes kiiind of like buffalo sauce, but it isn't buttery. It is, however, delicious, and pebre is some tasty salsa!
|You can make it with extra fuerte (strong) ají crema, but then it really packs a punch!|
|Avocado, cheese, ají crema on toast. Yum|
I will do a complete post about the market (La Vega) sometime, but for now I just wanted to share one other picture. The celery here is enormous! I'm not sure if this photo really conveys the scale, but I made sure to get my hand in the picture so you could see how big the celery is.
That's all for now! More food posts in the future, I promise, along with a complete photo tour of La Vega.
By the way, for those of you in California, are these produce prices normal for you? What do you pay for avocados?