I did a ‘test dig’ to see how the Picasso potatoes were faring, and found that although they were growing well (no scab, good colour, good texture), size-wise they need another couple of weeks in the ground. I’ve read that during this time when the top growth begins to yellow and wither it’s a good idea to cut off the potato stems so that the energy goes into creating bigger tubers. So that’s what I did – and low and behold a fortnight on and the potatoes are looking a good size!
I didn’t want my ‘test’ dig smaller potatoes to go to waste, so decided to start looking into some alternative potato dish recipes. I mean, I love roasties, but I wanted to enjoy my Picasso potatoes in a variety of ways beyond my beloved roasties and mash. Having visited a Spanish bar in Brighton recently and fallen in love with patatas a lo pobre (“poor man’s potatoes”), I thought I’d try and turn my mini harvest into a couple of tapas dishes for dinner.
I decided to go with patatas a lo pobre (potatoes in a garlicky oil with onions and roast peppers) first – you’ll find the recipe for patatas bravas (potatoes and a slightly smokey, spicy tomato sauce) in Part Two. For the one patatas tapas recipe, I used around 1.5lbs (650g) potatoes. This is enough for two medium sized portions. Main crop/floury potatoes are fine, and large second early Charlotte potatoes work really well too. I used a combination of both as I’m trying to keep thrifty and reduce waste, so homegrown Picasso and Charlotte potatoes were used.
Patatas a lo Pobre Recipe
1 red & 1 yellow bell pepper cut into strips and roasted
2 medium red onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
freshly chopped parsley to garnish
vegetable oil – I always use a mild and light olive oil blend
1. Preparing the potatoes:
Cut around 1.5lbs potatoes into large chunks. Par-boil for 10 minutes, before draining. Then in a roasting pan, drizzle liberally with oil (I used a mild and light olive oil blend) and cook in the oven for around 30-45 minutes on Gas Mark 6 until the potatoes’ outer layers are thickened and crispy, but not too tough. You can leave the potato skins on if you want, although older potatoes or main crop potatoes might need peeling first. Towards the end of roasting the potatoes, you can move the potatoes up to the top shelf to ‘harden’ them off!
2.As the potatoes begin cooking in the oven, cut the peppers into thick strips and roast in oil on the oven top shelf. Remove after 20-30 minutes, leave to cool in a plastic bag for about 10-20 minutes and then peel off the tough outer skins. If you can’t be bothered to do this, you can go the much more expensive but less faffy route of buying roasted peppers in a jar!
3. Finely chop the red onions, and add to a saucepan, sautee or sweat in vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes before adding in the minced garlic. Sweat for another minute or two, making sure that the garlic doesn’t stick or burn. Add the roasted red peppers and mix in thoroughly for another minute or so, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve up the onions, garlic and peppers and mix in some of your cooked patatas. Keep some of the oil from the saucepan and drizzle (it will be infused with onion and garlic flavour, helps to add a punch!) then add the chopped parsley garnish. You can also add a little drizzle of good quality virgin olive oil or white wine vinegar.