- The Daily Spud - http://www.thedailyspud.com -

Spud Sunday: Subtropical Spuds

Canarian Salt Wrinkled Potatoes (Papas Arrugadas)

Canarian salt wrinkled potatoes

Now, I’ve never actually been to the Canary Islands, but this Canarian potato dish [1] – a signature of the island’s cuisine – is one that has been on my spud radar for quite some time. There is nothing particularly complicated about its preparation: small, new potatoes are simply boiled in very heavily salted water (or traditionally in seawater). The skin wrinkles a little as they cook and, as they dry afterward, some of the salt recrystallizes and forms a thin film on the surface of the potatoes.

The effect as you bite in is akin to having a salty rim on your margarita glass – there’s an outer salty hit, whilst inside, the potatoes are well, but not overly, seasoned. Traditionally, these potatoes are served with a couple of sauces – a spicy red pepper sauce (mojo rojo) and a green sauce (mojo verde) made with fresh coriander (see below). They’ll go nicely with one or both, either alone or with some baked white fish or some chicken, say.

The Summary:

  • Makes around 4 servings & takes approx. 10 min to prep + 30 min to cook the potatoes

You’ll need:

  • 1kg small new potatoes
  • 250g salt

You’ll also need:

  • A medium-sized saucepan to accommodate the potatoes

The Steps:

  • Scrub the potatoes and leave them unpeeled.
  • Add about 1.5l water to your saucepan. Add the salt and stir to dissolve. Add the potatoes and set over a medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes can be easily pierced with knife, about 15-20 minutes, depending on size. You’ll see the skins of the potatoes start to wrinkle a bit towards the end of cooking.
  • Drain almost all of the water off the potatoes, leaving just barely enough to cover the base of the saucepan. Return the saucepan with the potatoes to the heat for a couple of minutes to dry off, shaking the pan periodically. You should see a white coating form on the potatoes as the salt recrystallizes.
  • Serve tapas-style with one or both of the mojo rojo and mojo verde sauces (see below) or as a side dish with some baked white fish or chicken.
R☆51

Mojo Rojo

Mojo rojo / red sauce

Never having been to the Canaries, I’ve can’t really say that I’ve eaten proper Canarian wrinkly potatoes nor had the sauces to go with them – so this recipe for mojo rojo may not necessarily be the most authentic of versions. That said, and having looked at several different versions of the recipe, I’ve based it on what seem to be the common (and very Spanish) elements – garlic, chilli, cumin, dried peppers or pepper powder, olive oil and sherry vinegar – and also on what tasted good to me.

Most versions that I’ve seen simply involve pounding the ingredients together and mixing with oil and vinegar, and those ingredients usually include a greater or lesser degree of raw garlic (like this one [2], with 8 cloves of the stuff). To take the raw edge off the garlic, I’ve chosen to fry it very briefly in some of the oil, and I’ve also chosen to toast the cumin seeds first. It’s worth seeking out some good quality Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón) for this, as well as a good quality olive oil.

The Summary:

  • Makes around 60 ml of sauce & takes approx. 10 min to put together

You’ll need:

  • 0.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh red chilli (mild or hot, according to preference), finely chopped and seeds retained
  • 0.5 tsp sweet smoked paprika (pimentón)
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 2 tblsp olive oil, divided
  • 0.5 tsp sherry vinegar
  • water to thin

You’ll also need:

  • A small frying pan and a mortar and pestle

The Steps:

  • Place a small frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and toast, shaking the pan periodically, for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, pound together the garlic, fresh chilli (with seeds, if desired), smoked paprika and salt.
  • When the cumin seeds are ready, add a tblsp of the olive oil to the pan, along with the garlic and chilli mixture. Fry for about 30 seconds only, then remove from the heat and place in the small bowl.
  • Add the remaining olive oil to the mixture, along with the sherry vinegar and whisk together well. Taste for salt and vinegar and add more if desired. Add about 2 tblsp of water to thin, mix well and serve.

The Variations:

  • You could use a hot smoked paprika to add more chilli heat to this or add a green element to the sauce with some chopped flat leaf parsley.

Mojo Verde

Mojo verde / green sauce

As with the mojo rojo above – and for the same reason – I can’t, strictly speaking, vouch for the absolute authenticity of the version you see here. However, garlic, cumin and lots of fresh coriander seem to be common mojo verde themes, along with olive oil and sherry vinegar, and this version has a balance of those ingredients that I like. As for the mojo rojo above, I’ve chosen to fry the garlic very briefly to soften its raw edge, but you can use it raw if you like.

The Summary:

  • Makes around 75 ml of sauce & takes approx. 10 min to put together

You’ll need:

  • 0.25 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tblsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 0.5 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 6-8 tblsp fresh coriander leaves, very finely chopped
  • water to thin

You’ll also need:

  • A small frying pan

The Steps:

  • Place a small frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and toast, shaking the pan periodically, for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add a tblsp of the olive oil to the pan, along with the crushed garlic. Fry for about 30 seconds only, then remove from the heat and place in the small bowl.
  • Add the remaining olive oil to the mixture, along with the sherry vinegar and salt and whisk together well. Mix in the chopped coriander, taste for salt and vinegar and add more if desired. Add about 2 tblsp of water to thin, mix well and serve.

The Variations:

  • I imagine that a few capers might work well in this sauce, even if not a necessarily authentic addition.