Alpaca is usually known for its soft fur, but if you are a foodie who has traveled to Peru, or its neighbouring South American countries, you may also know that this docile animal is loved by the locals for more than just its warm coat.
And thanks to Gordon Ramsay, we now know how alpaca fat can replace other fats in a recipe; and how it’s “similar to goose fat,” according to the chef.
A few days ahead of the airing of Uncharted, Gordon Ramsay’s travel-food show produced by National Geographic, the chef has released a behind-the-scenes look at him trying out high altitude cooking in the Peruvian mountains.
Ramsay is at 3,500 metres above sea level in Peru, with no butter or oil as he attempts to make creamy scrambled eggs. There is a cameo by Peruvian chef pal Virgilio Martinez, who has made a frittata prior to the recording with “the most amazing alpaca brains.”
Apart from the alpaca fat, an ingredient to note is the huacatay (pronounced wa-ca-tay): this is a local herb, also referred to as Peruvian black mint. Huacatay is often prepared as a creamy paste before being added to dishes, and in Peru this fragrant herb is found in almost every dish. Local restaurants, from casual lunch spots to fine dining establishments feature the herb in some form – Gaston Acurio is known to use it in his signature dishes at his restaurant Astrid y Gaston, and Gaggan Anand (although not Peruvian himself) uses huacatay alongside roast chicken.
Gaggan Anand’s Pollo a la Brassa with Hicacatay Sauce Recipe
In case you want to try Ramsay’s alpaca scrambled eggs, here is the recipe from the video below.
Gordon Ramsay’s Recipe for Peruvian Alpaca Scrambled Eggs
Lightly whip eggs, just enough to break up the yolk.
Add some alpaca fat to a piping hot cast iron pan, on heated coals.
Add eggs to the pan, stir continuously.
Add a bunch of fresh huacatay, torn by hand.
Add a pinch of chillies.
Season with salt.
Add a dollop of fresh cream and stir to combine.
Garnish with fresh flowers courtesy of Virgilio Martinez.
Serve warm to some local mango farmers.
Check out the official trailer of Gordon Ramsay’s Uncharted, aired on the 21st of July: trailer