Return my mojo!


A couple of years back I visited the island of La Palma, of the Spanish Canary Islands. It is the place which features as an island of doom in Discovery Channel programmes, because a large chunk of this island, somewhere in the future, will supposedly break off and splash into the sea, causing a giant tsunami to flood the whole East Coast of America.

However until it does (and nobody knows when this natural disaster will strike), you can enjoy the island’s sunshine, their special potatoes, and their two kinds of mojo. Mojo is Spanish for sauce: they have a red and a green version, which can be found at every restaurant table. The combination with potatoes is great, especially if you serve a white fish or some chicken on the side. The mojos are really garlicky, giving a great kick!

When I went home I bought a jar of green sauce, which was in my fridge for ages. Not because it didn’t taste good – it tasted too good, and I was afraid of losing that flavor if I finished it completely – I took a small spoonful every time.

To make these potatoes with sauces you will need: 1 kilo of small potatoes, white wine vinegar, nora peppers (chile de anchos will do too), garlic, olive oil, salt, paprika and a handful of chopped fresh coreander (cilantro).

Put the unpeeled potatoes in a wide shallow pan and fill with 2/3 of salted water, as salt as ‘your tears’. This is 35 grams of salt to 1 litre. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15-20 mins until nearly dry.

Meanwhile, put half a bulb of garlic in a kitchen blender. Whizz. Then add 200 ml of white wine vinegar to combine. Devide this mixture into half. One becomes the green mojo (mojo verde): add 100 ml of olive oil, half a tablespoon of cumin and a handful of chopped coriander.
The other half gets spiced up by adding the red pulp of 3 soaked nora peppers – in just-boiled water for half an hour, then scrape out the softened inside -, a dash of paprika and also 100 ml of olive oil. This is the mojo rojo.

When the potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes and they are nearly dry (pour off excess water if this is not so), sprinkle with more salt and roll in the pan until covered with salt. Then turn off the heat and cover with a tea towel. This will cause the salt to crystallize and the potato skins to wrinkle, so the potatoes look like they were dug out of a volcano; serve with the two mojos on the side.


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