José Pizarro's Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Cilantro Mojo

By Genius Recipes
May 28, 2013
38 Comments


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

Ingredients

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

Directions

  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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Reviews (38) Questions (2)

38 Comments

bhilz April 9, 2018
I had tried the salty shallow-boil technique a few times and found the resulting potatoes unevenly cooked and underwhelming. BUT THEN one night I lost patience, drained the potatoes after they were par-boiled and just fork tender, and then in the same pan (now dried) sauteed them in olive oil. Served with the cilantro mojo and people FREAKED OUT. This dish is fantastic because it meets virtually every dietary restriction (easily adaptable for non-cilantro people), and is always a hit.
 
Irene July 18, 2018
Hi bhilz, I suggest you to try slightly smashing the potatoes with a wide spatula after par-boiling them...just so until the skin begins to break and they have a flat surface on both sides. Then sautee them in olive oil. The flat surface will crisp better.
 
btglenn June 24, 2016
I just made and used the sauce on roast chicken. Lovely. Using it it on overly salty potatoes seems like such a waste.
 
alicia March 18, 2016
The sauce was amazing, but the potatoes were far too salty for our taste.<br />
 
Grace December 20, 2015
Just made these and LOVED them. The most tender and crisp little salt nuggets. Enjoyed with grilled steak and yes, the MOJO sauce is 100% necessary.
 
Ruthan November 8, 2015
Might finally be time for me to ask the local wine bar what kind of salt they put on their truffle fries -- it's got a certain tang to it that I bet this would really show off.
 
bookdwarf August 31, 2015
Made these last night and served with a roasted 1/2 chicken that I put a garlic/lemon zest compound butter under the skin. The mojo sauce paired perfectly with both. So delicious!
 
Nacho J. August 4, 2015
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. :/
 
aquarius November 9, 2015
Did you serve them with the MOJO sauce? It makes the dish.
 
Shanzie March 10, 2015
I'm not a huge fan of these. They cooked up as described but the taste was nothing special. Just salty.
 
melissa September 2, 2014
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.
 
RavensFeast April 5, 2014
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!): http://food52.com/recipes/20017-torrisi-s-spicy-sauce
 
Maurine F. January 12, 2014
I recently served these , halved, topped with creme fraiche and caviar.
 
Montserrat November 29, 2013
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 .
 
Patti L. September 12, 2013
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!
 
Kristen M. September 12, 2013
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.
 
melbelgibson August 9, 2013
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!
 
Mak June 25, 2013
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?
 
Beth C. June 26, 2013
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.<br />
 
Irene July 18, 2018
I recommend you the same idea as Beth's but instead of using plastic wrap, just place a shallow plate or "tight" lid on top of the bowl
 
aquarius June 13, 2013
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.
 
sansan123 June 12, 2013
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
 
za'atar June 9, 2013
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.
 
sansan123 June 12, 2013
trying the pebre with grilled steak tonight. Will let you know what happens
 
Wayne D. June 3, 2013
Why must you americans always rename traditional dishes this isn't mojo it is "pebre" both in Spain and Latin America
 
Lindars77 June 20, 2013
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.
 
Sherri J. September 16, 2015
In Spain, and specifically the Canary Islands, this dish is "Papas Arrugadas con mojo verde”.
 
Suzy's M. March 28, 2018
Why must you be insulting? Do you feel better about yourself if you point out”errors “. Which they are not.
 
Sandra September 19, 2018
Love your reply. Tired of insults.
 
Marna June 3, 2013
forgot to mention that I used the black pepper instead of the green chile.