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Crispy Potatoes With Romesco
(recipe, Robert Reynolds, Vitaly Paley, Kimberly Paley)
When Kimberly and I traveled through Spain, we tried a dish of roasted potatoes with a pepper-and-fried-almond condiment called romesco. When I created my version of this taste memory, I sought simple and satisfying tastes that exploded with flavor.
Dark red and mild, nyora peppers are authentic to this recipe. When I can't find nyoras, I look for other dried peppers with mild taste. Or I will use only fresh bell peppers.
- 8 dried nyora peppers (or any mild, dried red chile), seeded
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
- ½ cup almonds (blanched or skins on)
- 2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 tomato, peeled and seeded
- 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 cup mixed olives, such as arbequina and lucques, pitted
- 2 Tbsp. persillade
- Snap the stems from the nyora peppers. Shake out and discard the seeds. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover with a small plate to keep the chiles submerged until softened, about 20 minutes. Discard the soaking liquid. Set the chiles aside.
- To peel the bell peppers on a gas burner, place them on a burner set on high heat. Using tongs, rotate them until they become uniformly blackened on all sides. To roast and peel the peppers in the oven, roast them in a 350-degree oven until the skins brown and loosen, about 30 minutes.
- For either method, place the cooked peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until cool enough to handle, approximately 10 minutes. Peel off the skins, remove the seeds and stems, and set the peppers aside.
- In a small skillet, heat ¼ cup of the olive oil, add the almonds, and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan a few times, until the nuts are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Drain the almonds and let cool slightly. Discard the oil.
- In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the chiles, roasted bell peppers, almonds, bread crumbs, garlic, tomato, vinegar and ¾ cup olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pulse to obtain a smooth purée. Transfer the puréed romesco mixture to a container, cover and refrigerate until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- To prepare the potatoes, place them in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Add a generous sprinkle of salt. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are barely done and still a bit firm when pierced with a long wooden skewer or small paring knife, about 25 minutes (see note). Drain, cool slightly, then peel them and cut into wedges.
- Transfer the potato wedges to a baking sheet and season generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the remaining ¼ cup olive oil to coat the potatoes evenly. Bake on the upper rack of the oven until browned and crispy, about 40 minutes.
- To serve, place the potatoes in a serving bowl, scatter with olives, and top with half of the romesco. Sprinkle with persillade and pass the potatoes around the table, accompanied by the rest of the romesco.