José Pizarro's Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Cilantro Mojo

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
In This Recipe


  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.

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