The 30th of May is a special day ’round these parts….it’s “El Día de Canarias,” “Canary Island Day.” We are celebrating with, what else? Food! And so I can get bizzy celebrating, I’m going to leave you with *thee* most popular Canary recipe ever….papas arrugadas con mojo (which, translated, means ‘wrinkled potatoes with mojo’). Mojo…where to even begin? There are as many varieties as chefs….the particular version I’m posting here is called “Mojo Picón,” or “Spicy Mojo.” (btw….it’s pronounced MO-ho, rhymes with Soho, though it’s got some mo-joe goin’ on too. hehe). I’ll do a step by step for the potatoes, for clarity more than anything. Have a happy Canary day everyone!!
2 pounds (1 kilo) tiny potatoes
a generous amount of sea salt (more than you think you’d need, like a handful)
2 thin lemon slices
water for potatoes (to come halfway up the potatoes, not to cover them)
Bring potatoes to boil over strong heat.
Loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and allow to cook until done (this will depend on the size of your potatoes, but about 20-30 minutes).
Add more water if necessary.
When potatoes are cooked through and begin to “wrinkle,” they’re done. Like this, see? :)
While the potatoes are cooking, make the Mojo Picón…or if you can, make it the day before…it gets better with time.
5-7 cloves garlic
sea salt to taste
2 mini cayenne peppers (dried)
1 generous teaspoon cumin seeds
1 generous teaspoon smokey paprika
bread crumbs to taste (optional, for gluten free, do not use, or sub with gf bread crumbs)
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
water to thin (optional)
Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic, salt, cumin and cayennes to a paste.
Add paprika and mash to combine.
Add bread crumbs (if using) and mash to combine.
Add olive oil and continue mashing.
Add vinegar little by little, mashing constantly to avoid separation (though if it does separate, it’s no big deal…just not as pretty…shake before serving in this case).
Serve sauce with papas arrugadas or Canary cheeses…..oh heck, a quick pimp:
Fresh Cheese from San Mateo, Gran Canaria….a cow’s milk cheese, very soft and mild, just a hint salty:
Semi-cured Artisan Cheese from Fuerteventura, with a paprika rind (this one is made from goat’s milk, and has a wonderful tang):
And lastly, Aged Artisan Cheese from Fuerteventura (made with goat’s milk and pleasantly sharp):