In Cuzco, our daily menu consists of a three-course meal: the special soup of the house, various main dishes for you to choose from, called segundos (such as an arroz con pollo, a rice with chicken), as well as a salad made from a variety of ingredients.
The most popular salad, one that you always find on menus, is the salad of washed onion, tomato, and lime. It is simply one of the most prepared salads in Cuzco for accompanying any segundo, main dish.
The San Pedro market is perhaps the best known of our public markets. In its very popular prepared food section you will see, every day, the caseras (vendors) making juicy and delightful salads. They are there for you to choose from. You might see, besides the onion and tomato salad, one of cucumbers and tomatoes, or one of tomato, cucumber, and onion.
Whenever a birthday is celebrated in the families of Cuzco, or the family comes together to honor special days, the mothers of the families work to make a special dish, such as an oven-baked chicken (pollo al horno). As a side for that dish they also make a special salad. This could be an ensalada rusa, a Russian salad. It has beets, carrots, peas, and mayonnaise.
This Russian salad is made in almost all our families on special days when people have festive foods. It is easy to make. You just have to boil the carrots, beets and peas. You then dice into small cubes the beets and the carrots. You add the peas to them and, to finish, mix in mayonnaise. People love this.
Surprisingly, you will also find spicy salads made with rocoto peppers.
Salads cannot fail to be present on our tables. We enjoy them and look forward to them, with their juiciness and flavor, as well as their combination of different ingredients. They are always there, to the side of our special dishes, like the rainy season that comes next to the dry.