José Pizarro's Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Cilantro Mojo

By • May 28, 2013 26 Comments

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Author Notes: If you boil new potatoes just a little differently -- in a wide shallow pan in a single layer, with no lid and a lot of sea salt -- you get a head-turning new appetizer. Or serve it as a side for grilled steaks or chops or butterflied chicken to and the mojo will get even more play. Adapted slightly from Spanish Flavors (Kyle Books, 2013)Genius Recipes

Serves 6

Salt-Crusted Potatoes

  • 2 1/4 pounds evenly sized waxy new potatoes, such as fingerling, scrubbed but unpeeled
  • Sea salt flakes

Cilantro Mojo

  • 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Leaves from a bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
  • Scant 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, Muscatel if possible
  1. Put the potatoes into a wide, shallow pan in which they fit in a single layer. Add 2 tablespoons salt and 1 quart cold water (just enough to cover), bring to a boil, and leave to boil rapidly until the water has evaporated. Then turn the heat to low and continue to cook for a few minutes, gently turning the potatoes over occasionally, until they are dry and the skins are wrinkled and covered in a thin crust of salt.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, make the cilantro mojo. Put the garlic, green chili pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt in a mortar, and pound into a paste. Add the cilantro leaves, and pound until they are incorporated into the paste. Add the cumin, and gradually mix in the oil to make a smooth sauce. Just before serving, add the vinegar, and spoon into a small bowl.
  3. Pile the hot potatoes onto a plate and serve with the mojo, instructing your guests to rub off as much salt from the potatoes as they wish before dipping them in the sauce.

More Great Recipes: Potatoes|Vegetables|Appetizers|Snacks|Olive Oil

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Comments (26) Questions (2)


27 days ago Nacho Jones

Made these for dinner tonight. Pretty good but honestly they're just really salty potatoes. It needs something else...just not sure what...yet. Thanks. :/


6 months ago Shanzie

I'm not a huge fan of these. They cooked up as described but the taste was nothing special. Just salty.


12 months ago melissa

What a simple yet amazing way to make potatoes! The salt perfectly coats the outside of the potato, and for the cilantro lovers out there - you can't go wrong with this dipping sauce. I used serrano pepper and it was the perfect amount of heat (IMO anyway). Def making this a staple.


over 1 year ago RavensFeast

I'm so glad you shared this recipe, it is stellar! I used to enjoy a lot of potatoes with Mojo Picon in Spain, but never did I learn the salt water evaporation technique. I've made the recipe a few times now and have found that timing is relevant in terms of service. Their magic diminished a bit once they cooled (though, still good!), but served piping hot, they were pure bliss. I'm going to venture to guess that Torrisi's Spicy Sauce would be another winning accompaniment (perhaps with a dollop of homemade aioli - Patatas Bravas style!):


over 1 year ago Maurine Fischel

I recently served these , halved, topped with creme fraiche and caviar.


almost 2 years ago Montserrat

This way of cooking the potatoes comes fron canary islands. Its our traditional dish called : papas arrugadas. And we served with a Sauce called mojo picón .


almost 2 years ago Patti Lohr

Wondering if regular sea salt (large granule) or kosher flakes would work the same. Might be a dumb question but I'm not a pro!


almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

They'll both work! They both dissolve in the water, which then evaporates to form the crust. The same volume of finer grain salts will be saltier than larger grain salts, but you end up leaving a lot of salt behind in the pan anyway, so the difference in saltiness is somewhat negligible.


about 2 years ago melbelgibson

Just made this! This sauce is so good that my husband and I were trying to find things to dump it on! And the potatoes are so deliciously salty and wonderfully buttery on this inside. Fantastic!


about 2 years ago Mak

The sauce is very good and can be used with other items, not just potatoes as mentioned by others. The one thing I do not like about the skin from the peppers. Does anyone know a easy way to peal the peppers?


about 2 years ago Beth Colla

You can roast the peppers over an open flame on your stove or under a broiler until blistered. Then put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 min. The skins should rub right off. It will change the flavor a bit, but should work well.


about 2 years ago aquarius

Another great excuse to eat (Idaho!) potatoes. Served them with grilled burgers and left half the burger so I could consume more potatoes. So easy and failure-proof.


about 2 years ago sansan123

tried the mojo with grilled steak tonight. It rockd and the hubby is thrilled to be eating herbs from garden. Served with Merrills mint and chile zucchini plus a side salad of tomatoes nd avocado


about 2 years ago za'atar

These were good, but a little underwhelming compared to some of food52's killer recipes. I used waxy new potatoes and might try a different variety next time to get a bit of crunch from the skin. The "mojo" was good and I'd like to try it on a meat dish.


about 2 years ago sansan123

trying the pebre with grilled steak tonight. Will let you know what happens


about 2 years ago Wayne Dobinson

Why must you americans always rename traditional dishes this isn't mojo it is "pebre" both in Spain and Latin America


about 2 years ago Lindars77

Why must you non-Ameicans always come off so pretentious? Mojo sauce has many names and variations originating in a number of different countries including, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic...and more.


about 2 years ago Marna

forgot to mention that I used the black pepper instead of the green chile.


about 2 years ago Marna

I had to make these but of course, had no cilantro and a doe giving birth, so I didn't want to run to the store. Substituted Italian parsley, used some fresh cracked black pepper, half of the cumin, added fresh thyme and oregano and used Trader Joe's orange muscat champagne vinegar. OMG!!!!!!! Served with prime rib. Mojo was great with the potatoes and the meat. My hubby, the horseradish addict was all over the mojo. Can't wait to try the recipe with the actual ingredients, but will definitely do this variation again. It will probably go well with the goat cheese I'll be making in a few weeks.


about 2 years ago sansan123

did you mean tuber easy? :-)


about 2 years ago cheesypennies

Ha ha! Love that!


about 2 years ago cheesypennies

We made these for dinner tonight with potatoes from the farmer's market. Delicious, and uber easy!


about 2 years ago sansan123

I gotta' to have this !


about 2 years ago PaulaE

I'm one of those genetically-challenged cilantro haters. I often use Italian parsley instead, or basil. Any thoughts on substitutions?


about 2 years ago Barb168

You could go with a number of herbs such as thyme, dill, basil, or combinations of herbs - whatever tastes good with potatoes!


about 2 years ago Kerryloves2travel

Wow! Can't wait to try this. I might even serve it as a side dish with BBQ ribs. Easy & looks super flavorful.