Serve Spanish-style crispy potatoes for New Year’s party
The classic New Year’s libation is champagne, but what to eat is a matter of broader choice. This year why not make it a tapas party — a feast of various little bites? And, if indeed that’s how you choose to roll, one of those dishes should be these crispy baked potatoes with a garlicky red pepper mayo sauce.
Spanish Style Crispy Potatoes with Garlicky Red Pepper Sauce is a streamlined take on a Spanish classic called patatas bravas — deep-fried chunks of potato with a spicy tomato sauce and/or aioli — sort of like the Spanish equivalent of french fries. But given that most folks aren’t keen on firing up a big vat of boiling oil, I’ve engineered a baked version. It’s not quite as crispy as the fried, but it comes close.
How to make crispy potatoes without frying? Here are a few tricks: First, partially cook the potato slices in simmering water with a bit of baking soda, which makes the exteriors of the potatoes slightly mushy and releases their starch and sugar. Then toss the hot potatoes in a bowl with oil and salt, which encourages a starchy film to accumulate on the potatoes’ exterior. When the potatoes are roasted, all of that starch and sugar on the outside helps to form a crispy brown crust.
As for the lip-smacking sauce — a mix of pureed red peppers, smoky paprika and garlic mayo — you can drizzle it on top of the potatoes or set it on the side as a dip. This dish of crispy potatoes and spicy dip pairs very nicely with bubbly wine or dry sherry, if you’re in the mood to salute the dish’s Spanish DNA. However, there’s no reason to reserve this recipe for a special occasion like New Year’s. It will make a very satisfying side dish whenever you serve it.
Spanish Style Crispy Potatoes with Garlicky Red Pepper Sauce
Start to finish: 1 hour 45 minutes (35 active)
For the potatoes:
2 pounds medium Yukon gold potatoes, sliced crosswise 1/2-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons olive oil
For the sauce:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch of cayenne
Prepare the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan combine the potatoes and baking soda with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the exterior part of the slices has softened but the centers are still slightly firm when pricked with a knife, about 5 minutes.
While the potatoes are simmering, place a rimmed sheet pan on the bottom rack of the oven to heat up. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat a few minutes, shaking the pan until there is no excess water on the surface of the potatoes. Transfer them to large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well to combine. Drizzle with another 1 tablespoon oil and continue to toss until coated with a starchy paste.
Carefully remove the sheet pan from the oven and pour the remaining tablespoon of oil onto it, tilting the pan to coat the bottom. Add the potatoes and spread them out in one layer (the end pieces should be placed skin side up). Bake until the bottoms are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes and brown them on the second side, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
Make the sauce: In a blender puree the peppers. Add the remaining ingredients and blend, scraping down the sides several times, until smooth.
To serve: Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with the sauce, or serve the sauce on the side.
Nutrition information per serving: 232 calories; 113 calories from fat; 13 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 3 mg cholesterol; 494 mg sodium; 27 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 3 g protein.
Sara Moulton is host of public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows including “Cooking Live.” Her latest cookbook is “HomeCooking 101.”