Papas Bravas And Mojo Verde

I think its fair to say that potatoes are one of the most versatile foods in the universe!  They tast egood pretty much no matter what you do to them.  So as a cook its my job…and also your job, if you are reading this…to bring out the absolute best characteristics in the potato possible.

When I think of the best potatoes I’ve ever had, the two descriptions that come to  mind are “crunchy” and “soft”.  This might seem like it contradicts itself, but it can be done!

It’s a pretty hot potato trick I’ve been using to make THE most delicious potatoes you’ve ever had, or your money back, that I would like to give to you for free!

You can use pretty much any potato, but I find that the good ‘ol russet works the best

And It’s pretty simple, here’s how it works

  1. boil your potatoes whole until they are JUUUUUST fork tender, don’t over cook!
  2. cool the potatoes on a tray, and once cooled, cut or rip (I like the craggy texture of ripping because it adds a lot of crunch) into golf ball sized pieces
  3. fry at 345°F until the potatoes are a deep brown, almost reddish color.  Don’t rush it.  It will take a little while, but your patience will be rewarded. (see my post on frying if you have any questions there)
  4. Season with salt and devour!

By boiling the potatoes, they will have a nice soft texture on the inside due to the rupturing of all that starch, and which will also assist in getting the G.B.D. crunch were looking for on the outside with the final fry.  Two part cooking is necessary for insane potatoes!  If you take away one thing from this post, take that away.

You can use pretty much any flavor combination to make delicious potatoes: meat drippings and rosemary (one of my favorites), honey and sage, curry powder, and the list goes on.

For this recipe, I’m really liking the idea of making a take on papas bravas.  Papas bravas is a Spanish dish involving potatoes, a tomato sauce, aioli, and lots of garlic and chilis.

So I’m thinking we take this fancy potato technique from a few sentences ago and some elements of the classic Spanish dish and rework it just a little! How does that sound?

So the things I like about Papas Bravas is the garlic and chilis.  I’m not in love with the tomato sauce because I think a lighter more fresh sauce would offset the heartiness of the potatoes.  Just…no to the aioli…all that oil with already fried food…just no.  And can’t do without the potatoes.

So Instead of fresh chilis and garlic, we’ll substitute in a spice blend of 1 part powdered garlic to 4 parts smoked paprika.  Blend well and toss the potatoes with the seasoning (the potatoes should already have been tossed with  a little salt straight out of the fryer at this point)

Now for the sauce, I’m in love with the flavor of charred chilies, so we will use that starting point to make a mojo verde that will add a little much needed acid to the party.  Start by charring hatch or poblano chilies (or you could even use green bell peppers) directly over the flame of your stovetop.  If you have electric, surprisingly it works just as well.  Once most or all of the  surface of the chilies are charred, cut the stems off andtoss them into a blender with a whole bunch of parsley and a whole bunch of cilantro, the juice of 3 or four lemons, a pinch of salt, and just enough water to just get it moving.  Add the water a little at a time so you don’t make it into soup.  Once it’s blended into a sauce like consistency, blend in the two skinned and pitted halves of an avocado and season with a little ore salt and lemon juice if needed.  You can make this a day ahead to save some time.  And it keeps fairly well, but will start to brown a little if you don’t cover it with plactic wrap directly on its surface.

Now there’s no wrong way to serve the two together, but I really like saucing my plate and dumping a mess of potatoes on top.  That way the potatoes stay crunchy, and you can use them to scoop up the sauce.  Oh by the way, the potatoes keep really well in an oven turned to its lowest setting.  Good is on a sheet tray, better is on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper to wick away extra fat, best is on a wire rack set into a sheet ray so that the potatoes don’t get soggy bottoms.  I use this technique when I have to make them in batches and don’t want them to get cold during the process.

 

So to recap, I’ll write this down the ingredients and quantities all recipe-like to make it a little easier:

PAPAS BRAVAS

3 or 4 good sized russet potatoes

1 tablespoon garlic powder

4 tablespoons smoked paprika

salt to taste

canola oil for frying

 

MOJO VERDE

5 hatch or poblano chiles

1 bunch parsley

1 bunch cilantro

juice of 3 lemons (and more to taste)

1 avocado

 

This is a really easy breakfast application, but also works well at any time of the day.  Make it for yourself and leave a comment below to let me know how it turned out.

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