One potato, two potato…
I’ve been back from Seville for at least a fortnight now but I’m still on a Spanish kick, I think I always have been: the country, the language, the people and the food are all among my greatest passions, the two biggest being talking and eating (though never at the same time, of course, that’s just rude, or mal educada!).
In particular, Spanish cuisine is so elementary and simple, take the humble potato and all the dishes where it plays the leading role: patatas bravas, patatas arrugas, patatas a lo pobre…
… patatas aliñadas. Names always sound so much more romantic in Spanish. This is basically a potato salad, aliñada meaning dressed or seasoned. This dish is typical of Cádiz, where some of the world’s best tuna is produced and this is often added but the version I had in Seville recently was shamelessly unadulterated and simple but I can still taste it.
As with so many good recipes, the main attraction is its simplicity and, ergo, the quality of the ingredients. Flavoursome potatoes is a given but, in addition, if you can find a varietal white wine vinegar such as Moscatel, that would be delicious here, and the long Romano peppers here give a much more authentic flavour than the usual bell pepper. Always find the best, fruitiest extra virgin olive you can.
4 medium (Cyprus) potatoes (about 750g), unpeeled
Half a green pepper, finely chopped
Two spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar, such as Moscatel
175ml extra virgin olive oil
Cook the potatoes by starting them off in cold, salted water, following the rule ‘whatever grows underground starts in cold water and whatever grows above ground is plunged into a rolling boil’. Bring them to the boil and then simmer until they are cooked but still hold their shape. I always prefer to cook them in their skins and peel them when cool, as this retains the flavour. Make sure that you drain them completely so there is no moisture left and shake them well so that they become rough on the outside, this allows the dressing to penetrate. Cut them into even sized pieces.
The rest is easy, just dress the potatoes with the vinegar, season with salt, add the chopped green pepper and spring onions and season to taste with salt. Finally add a good amount of fruity olive oil so that they are resting in a delicious puddle of olive oil.
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Tara is an award-winning chef and author, who started out in top restaurant kitchens in Bristol before setting up her own business in 2010. She is a Judge at The Taste of the West Awards, and in her private life, Tara is an avid cook, fermenter and eater and loves teaching others how to do the same! Tara published her first book, 10 Years of Food Fads, in 2020 to celebrate 10 years of business.