Do not be fooled by their small size, these potatoes pack a hugely flavorful punch. We know it’s easy to grab some spicy potatoes from your favorite taco chain on your way home, but the labor of love you’ll put into these will make them taste that much better than you were anticipating.
Another perk of these potatoes is that they are a great pick food, so they can be served on tiny plates as a deliciously spicy appetizer before dinner. This type of pick food is called “tapas” in Spanish, and Mexican cuisine was the influence for this dish. Tapas have their own unique part in Mexican cuisine and are usually associated with bar snacks. The perfectly crafted dipping sauce that goes along with this recipe is made with mayonnaise, and one of our taste testers who is a self-proclaimed mayonnaise hater said that it was pretty good, despite being made from that white glop. (Why yes, if you were curious, that taste tester was me.)
This recipe requires a little bit of work, but it is absolutely worth it. When you are boiling your potatoes, make sure not to cook them all the way through or else they will turn into mashed potatoes. You want to cook them just enough that a paring knife will be able to puncture it just slightly.
Make sure you let the potatoes cool and then dry fully before you try to fry them. Dropping sopping wet potatoes into frying oil will cause sizzling oil to hop right out of the pan and onto your body. Do not do this. Another caution is to pour the spice blend onto the potatoes to taste, and not just dump the whole thing on them, like what happened in our test kitchen. Though to be honest, they turned out amazing, so maybe try just a little, and then? Go for it all.
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Smoked Sweet Paprika, divided
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon cooking sherry
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 3/4 teaspoon Chipotle Meco Chile Powder, divided
- 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper Medium Grind
- 2 quarts cold water
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 2 Organic Bay Leaves
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- Make dipping sauce. Combine minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Sweet Paprika, and a pinch of Kosher Salt in a mortar and pestle or food processor and process until smooth. Mix with mayonnaise, cooking sherry, tomato paste, and 1/4 teaspoon Chipotle Meco Chile Powder until fully combined. Cover and refrigerate.
- Make spice blend. Mix 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt, Black Pepper Medium Grind, 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Sweet Paprika and 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Meco Chile Powder in a bowl. Set spice blend aside.
- Pour 2 quarts water into a large saucepan and add 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt, 1 teaspoon Smoked Sweet Paprika, Ground Cumin, and Organic Bay Leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover; simmer for 10 minutes to season the water.
- Add potatoes to seasoned water, bring to a boil and simmer potatoes until tender but not fully cooked (4-5 minutes). The tip of a paring knife should easily insert into the center of a potato cube. Drain potatoes and transfer to a wire rack to cool and dry out, about 30 minutes.
- Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. Add cooled potatoes and cook, stirring gently to prevent splashing, until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and cool slightly. In a bowl, toss potatoes with spice blend and serve with dipping sauce.