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Wrinkled Potatoes with Red and Green Sauces

Servings: 6

Potatoes are the most popular food of the Canary Islands-they grow twenty varieties, most of them ancient varieties-and the favorite way of cooking them is to boil them in their skins with a huge amount of salt until all the water has evaporated. They come out wrinkled and covered with a white powdery film. They have a firm but tender texture and intense potato flavor. Amazingly, they are not too salty, because the salt in the water has the effect of drawing out their juices rather than being absorbed (just be sure to look for potatoes with good, thick skins, because when the skins are too thin they end up salty). You are supposed to pick up the potatoes with your hands and dip them into the traditional sauces as you take bites.

This recipe is excerpted from The Food of Spain. Read our review.


For the green sauce

  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, or to taste, crushed to a paste
  • 1/4  to 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the red sauce

  • 4 garlic cloves, or to taste, crushed to a paste
  • 3/4 tsp. pimentón picante, chile pepper, or cayenne
  • 2 tsp. pimentón dulce (or sweet paprika)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. white or red wine vinegar
  • Salt

For the potatoes

  • 2 lb. small to medium waxy potatoes (in their skins), washed
  • 4 Tbs. coarse sea salt


To make the green sauce

  • Blend all the ingredients except the oil to a paste in the food processor. Gradually add the oil and blend to a light creamy consistency.

To make the red sauce

  • Mix the garlic with the pimentón, and cumin in a bowl, then beat in the olive oil and vinegar. Add salt to taste.

To cook the potatoes

  • Put the potatoes in a large saucepan that holds them in one layer, and add just enough water to cover and the salt. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, letting the water bubble for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender and the water has evaporated. Leave them over very low heat for a few minutes, moving them and turning them over in the dry pan, until they are wrinkled and covered with a fine powder of salt. Serve hot or warm, with one or both of the sauces.

Make Ahead Tips

The potatoes can be made ahead and reheated in the oven before serving.


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