SMOKY MASHED POTATOES FROM EXTREMADURA
The word revolconas means tumbled, or rolled over, and here it probably refers to the act of mashing up the potatoes.
The dish is a specialty of Extremadura (as well as parts of Castile), where the potatoes are mixed with oil flavored with
garlic and the local paprika, pimentón de la Vera. This gives the dish a rusty hue and an addictively dusky taste. Bacon
or chorizo bits are sometimes mixed in as well. After being mashed, the potatoes are shaped into a cake and served as an
appetizer (or a poor man's main dish), though they definitely make a welcome side dish. Smoked pimentón (paprika) is
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2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 whole dried ñora pepper or ancho chile
1 bay leaf
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
About 1/2 cup fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
2 to 3 teaspoons smoked sweet Spanish paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
Strips of roasted red pepper (optional), for garnish
||Place the potatoes, ñora pepper, and bay leaf in a saucepan, add cold salted water to cover by
2 inches, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially covered,
until the potatoes feel completely tender when pierced with a skewer, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes,
setting about 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid aside and discarding the ñora pepper and bay leaf.
||While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the
onion and cook until soft but not browned, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook,
stirring, for another minute. Stir in the paprika and immediately remove the skillet from the heat so that
the garlic doesn't burn.
||Transfer the drained potatoes to a bowl and mash them coarsely with a fork or a potato ricer, gradually
stirring in the onion and oil mixture, the reserved potato cooking liquid, and the remaining olive oil to taste.
Season the potatoes with salt and black pepper. Mold the mashed potatoes into a round cake on a serving plate and
serve hot or warm, decorated with roasted pepper strips, if desired.
Excerpted from FRANK STITT'S SOUTHERN TABLE copyright © 2004 Frank Stitt, Christopher Hirscheimer, Pat Conroy.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.