good food + awesome travel & occasional odd bits

Love at First Bite: Papas Canarias

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Spain’s autonomous communities, the Canary Islands are an archipelago located off the coast of North Africa. Unfortunately, I’ve never traveled to the Canaries (had the opportunity and chose to visit Toledo, Spain instead- which was awesome), but I really want to especially after I had a taste of these delicious, words-cannot-describe how amazing these wrinkled potatoes inspired by a Canary Island dish are. Don’t take my word for it, you must make these and taste for yourself if you’ve never had the pleasure of biting into a creamy, salt crusted potato and dipping it into a cilantro-cumin mojo or a red chile pepper mojo. They are addictive like potato chips- you CANNOT have just one. One leads to two which leads to devouring the entire batch if you’re like me and have little self control. But that’s totally ok because life is short and one must enjoy.

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Patatas Canarias

from Made in Spain by Jose Andres

2 pounds baby potatoes, I used baby fingerlings

1 cup salt plus more as needed

Place potatoes in a medium deep pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 cup salt. The potatoes should float so if they are still on the bottom of the pot after you add the salt, you will need to slowly add more until the potatoes float.

Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. The potatoes will start to wrinkle as they become cooked.

Pour out most of the water, leaving just enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Return the pot back to the stovetop. Over low heat, shake the pot until the salt covering the potatoes begins to crystallize. This will take between 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover with a clean towel until the skins have wrinkled, about 10 minutes. Serve with green and red mojos.

Mojo Verde:

Slightly adapted from Made in Spain by Jose Andres

3 garlic cloves, peeled

½ tsp sea salt

1 cup well packed chopped cilantro leaves

¼ tsp cumin seeds

¼ cup Spanish extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sherry vinegar

Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and salt together until it forms a smooth paste. Here’s where I veered off from the original directions: Scrape the garlic and salt paste into a tall container (mason jar with large opening is ideal) and add cilantro, cumin, olive oil and sherry. Blend with an immersion blender until the mixture becomes smooth. It goes very quickly. Alternatively, you could do all this in the mortar as it calls for in the original directions. Keep the sauce at room temperature until ready to use.

 Mojo Rojo:

Slightly adapted from Made in Spain by Jose Andres

6 garlic cloves, peeled

 ½ tsp seal salt

½ tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp sweet pimento (Spanish smoked paprika)

1 dried guindilla pepper, I used a guajillo pepper

¼ cup Spanish extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sherry vinegar

Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and salt together until it forms a smooth paste. Here’s where I veered off from the original directions: Scrape the garlic and salt paste into a tall container (mason jar with large opening is ideal) and add cumin, pimenton, dried guindilla pepper (break it up with your hands), olive oil and sherry. Blend with an immersion blender until the mixture becomes smooth. It goes very quickly. Alternatively, you could do all this in the mortar as it calls for in the original directions. Keep the sauce at room temperature until ready to use.

*If you’ve never seen the television series “Made in Spain” with Jose Andres, be sure to check it out. He’s amazing and it’s a great high quality show where you actually learn something unlike, ahem, some of the other food shows that are all flash, no substance. I hope JA isn’t mad I finished off the mojos with an immersion blender instead of soldering through with the mortar and pestle. What can I say, I was hungry and anxious to eat these again!

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