June's Can't-Miss Dish

Shrimp Causa - Celeste

Looking for a no-fail, mouthwatering, gonna-tell-your-friends-about-it plate? Each month, Boston Globe columnist Ellen Bhang highlights the dish you need to try right now—and something to sip alongside it.

On the plate: Causa de Shrimp

Where to find it: When you open the door of Celeste, the buoyant soundtrack of cumbia and salsa lets you know you’ve arrived at the party. The 24-seat Peruvian eatery, now open just over a year in Somerville’s Union Square, is co-owned by Maria Rondeau and chef JuanMa Calderón, who hosted pop-up dinners in their home before launching this exuberantly delicious venture.

Notes on the nosh: If you describe a causa as a colorful terrine or a savory parfait, Rondeau won’t object. “It looks like a dessert with pastel colors,” she enthuses. “Take the first bite and you can see the layers.”

Finely mashed potato—whipped to a velvety consistency with olive oil, lime juice, and aji amarillo, Peru’s most famous pepper—is pressed into the bottom of a ring mold. Chilled shrimp, seasoned with the same zippy marinade that “cooks” ceviche, goes in next, followed by a final tier of the flavorful potato mixture. The cool, creamy stack arrives with hard-boiled egg, a glossy olive, and squiggles of sauce, one of which sports a mossy hue from the addition of huacatay, a mint-like herb.

Sip alongside: Calderón doesn’t pair the causa with a fancy cocktail. With the dish, the chef recommends beer—but not just any beer. Sip of Sunshine, a highly coveted IPA crafted by Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Stratford, Connecticut, is now available on tap. “For a fancy dinner, maybe white wine,” he concedes. “But this combination is simple.”

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