Crispy potatoes a streamlined take on Spanish classic
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Crispy potatoes a streamlined take on Spanish classic

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    Spanish-style crispy potatoes from a recipe by Sara Moulton.

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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 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.

The dish is a streamlined take on a Spanish classic called patatas bravas — deep-fried chunks of potato with a spicy tomato sauce and/or aioli — 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 fried, but it’s close.

How to make crispy potatoes without frying? First, partially cook the potato slices in simmering water with a bit of baking soda, which makes the exteriors slightly mushy and releases their starch and sugar. Toss the hot potatoes with oil and salt, which encourages a starchy film to accumulate on the outside. Once roasted, all that starch and sugar helps form a crispy brown crust.

The lip-smacking sauce is a mix of pureed red peppers, smoky paprika and garlic mayo. 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.

SPANISH STYLE CRISPY POTATOES WITH GARLICKY RED PEPPER SAUCE

By Sara Moulton

  • 2 pounds medium Yukon gold potatoes, sliced crosswise 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, to taste

>> Sauce

  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch cayenne

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Place a rimmed sheet pan on rack to heat.

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, combine potatoes and baking soda with water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until exterior of slices is softened but centers are still slightly firm, about 5 minutes.

Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Cook over medium heat a few minutes, shaking pan until surface of potatoes is dry.

Transfer to large bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Drizzle with another 1 tablespoon oil and continue to toss until coated with a starchy paste.

Carefully remove sheet pan from oven and coat with remaining tablespoon oil. Add potatoes in one layer (end pieces should be skin side up). Bake until bottoms are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes. Flip potatoes and brown them on second side, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.

>> To make sauce: In a blender, puree peppers. Add remaining ingredients and blend, scraping down sides several times, until smooth. Serve potatoes drizzled with the sauce, or serve sauce on the side.

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Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 232 calories, 3 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 494 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 3 g protein.

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