A Little Plate of Sunshine – Canarian Potatoes with red and green sauces (vegan optional)
Sometimes comfort food is the simplest dish possible: light, tasty, easy and reminds you of a happy time and a happy place. I only discovered the Canary Islands in the last few years and was blown away by the beauty of the landscape. I don’t know why I didn’t expect much from the food, but I was amazed by the heritage, quality and inventiveness of the cuisine. When I’m travelling and find a fabulous local dish, I repeat the order in as many different restaurants as possible, working out the basis of the taste and the recipe – and I go and bother the cooks, if allowed. We had this simple lovely meal only a few hours after landing on Tenerife – sitting outside in the sunshine looking down a gorgeous valley, and it was only January! This takes me right back to the relaxing sunshine, the friendly chefs and the buzz of finding something new and delicious to eat. You can adjust the spiciness of the mojo sauces to suit your tastes. You won’t find genuine Canarian potatoes in your UK supermarket but baby ones are good enough.
Serves 6 as a light main course, timings 45 minutes
Skin your peppers – I prefer to do them under a hot grill on all sides until the skin blisters, then put them in a ceramic or glass bowl with a plate on top to steam them a bit. After 10 minutes grilling and 10 minutes steaming you can easily rub and pull the skins off. Discard the seeds, membrane and stalks.
Assemble the ingredients for the red mojo, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar and blend with a stick blender. You are looking for a loose sauce with a spooning consistency. Taste, adjust the seasoning.
Do the same for the green mojo, again adding oil and vinegar, this will probably be slightly thicker due to the texture of the leaves.
Put the potatoes in a pan of very salty water, cold, and bring to the boil. The real recipe requires boiling the potatoes in sea water, so that’s the level of salt you are going for. When they are done – about 15 minutes boiling - drain the potatoes and put back in the warm pan with the lid off. The salty water on their skins will evaporate leaving a white residue. Canarian potatoes end up very wrinkly and look oddly like walnuts; baby potatoes won’t be quite so characterful. Use your imagination!
On each plate arrange a slice or two of manchego cheese with a spoonful of honey drizzled over and decorate with a sprig of thyme. Add your potatoes and dress with the red and green mojo. Holiday time!
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.