Papas Arrugadas with Mojo Sauce (vegetarian starter or side dish)

A deceptively simple starter from Lanzarote that is utterly addictive, this is described as “Canarian wrinkly potatoes with red and green pepper (mojo) sauces“.

The sauces need to be pre-prepared and this makes a huge batch but since they last well in the fridge, since they go with almost anything and since they are utterly addictive, this is not a problem.

Peel and chop one small bulb (yes, bulb) of garlic. Take two thick slices of bread, remove the crust and discard and tear the rest into bits. Take a tablespoon of cumin seeds, dry fry them and grind to a powder (or just take a tablespoon of pre-ground cumin powder, if you must). Add 1 large tea-spoon of sea-salt. Divide this mixture in half – it’s going to make both sauces.

For the red sauce, add one or two teaspoons of paprika and one deseeded and chopped red pepper to one half of the mix. Put the lot in a blender and grind until smooth, adding a tablespoon of white wine or cider vinegar and enough olive oil to make the mix smooth. Adjust the flavouring and consistancy with more vinegar and oil if necessary.

For the green sauce, take the other half of the mix and add a chopped, deseeded green pepper and a large bunch of coriander herb. Blend and add vinegar and olive oil as per the red sauce.

The potatoes are, properly, Canarian black potatoes but jersey royals will do just fine.

Wash the potatoes well but leave the skin on them and put them in water with half a lemon and a handful of salt and leave to steep for an hour. Throw out the water and the lemon and add half a cupful of rock salt and half-fill the pan with water. Simmer for twenty minutes and then empty the water. Put the pan on a very low heat and dry the potatoes, giving the pan a shake every now and again to stop them sticking and evenly cook until the skin goes wrinkly. Now they’re ready to eat, with relish(es)!

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