Papas Arrugadas

20 Apr

Over Spring Break my family and I went to Barcelona, Spain. It was wonderful. Beautiful. I loved every minute of it. And I happily ate my way through the whole damn city. Not once in the week that I was there did I eat a bad thing. The paella was fantastic. The tapas? Even better.

One dish that I happened to notice on the menu at almost every restaurant was Papas Arrugadas. Or wrinkled potatoes. Wrinkled potatoes are a traditional Canary Island dish. They were first brought to Spain by the conquistadors and have since become a part of the culture. Wrinkled potatoes are simple. They let the ingredients speak. They are small potatoes cooked with coarse sea salt, and then served with a mojo picon or mojo cilantro sauce. My mom fell in love with these potatoes and had them three different times while there. My dad and I have since set out to recreate this delicious little side dish, and we’ve come pretty close. So without further ado:

Papas Arrugadas

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs small potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp coarse sea salt

Preparation:

This wrinkled potatoes recipe makes 4 servings as a side dish or 6-8 as an appetizer.

Wash any dirt off the potatoes and remove “eyes,” if any. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add water to just cover and add salt.

Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes until cooked.

Remove from heat and pour off the water. Return pot with potatoes to the stove, letting the steam evaporate. You should see a layer of salt form on the dry skins.

Mojo Picon Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 dried red peppers – bell or any other non-spicy red pepper
  • 1-2 slices stale white bread – crusts trimmed if very dry
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin Spanish olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (approximately) water or chicken broth
  • Spanish sherry vinegar to taste

Preparation:

This red pepper sauce recipe makes about 1.5 cups.

Soak the dried red bell peppers in a bowl or pan of warm water for 10-15 minutes to soften and rehydrate them. After soaking, drain water and remove the stems.

Slice the garlic cloves. Break bread into quarters and set aside.

Process the peppers, cumin, garlic slices, hot pepper flakes and salt in a food processor or blender to create a paste. While blending, drizzle in olive oil gradually. Alternately add small pieces of the bread and small amounts of water or broth until the sauce is thick, but not as thick as a paste. Add 1-2 tsp vinegar or more, according to your taste.

Mojo Cilantro Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 – 1 cup virgin Spanish olive oil
  • 4-5 Tbsp (approximately) water
  • Spanish sherry vinegar to taste

Preparation:

Peel the garlic cloves. Trim stems from the cilantro bunch.

Process the cumin, garlic, cilantro and salt in a food processor or blender to create a paste. While blending, drizzle in olive oil gradually. Add small amounts of water until the sauce is thick, but not as thick as a paste. Add 1-2 tsp vinegar or more, according to your taste.

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