Vegetarian Roasted Spanish Potatoes
These potatoes are perfect for those who are thinking about venturing into vegetarianism but are hesitant to give up meat. The crumbly bread based topping gives an almost chorizo like texture, as many of our taste testers happily pointed out. This relatively easy recipe only takes about an hour from start to finish and has the kind of result that will leave you wishing you had accidentally doubled the recipe and given yourself a few more leftovers.
Jeff began this recipe by coating a baking dish with a small amount of olive oil as a base for the potatoes and then blanching the almonds by boiling them for about 60 seconds. “The skins come off surprisingly easily, like you might shoot the almonds across the room if you aren’t careful,” he said of his experience with them. He then chopped both cloves of garlic and a half cup of almonds by hand, but did later incorporate the food processor. You could use the food processor from the start and have the same results. The recipe he used suggested smoked paprika in the topping mixture, so he used our Smoked Sweet Paprika. He mentioned the advantage he had by using our very fresh paprika, which brought a lot of surprising smokiness to the dish, but commented that paprika found at the grocery store might end up being too dull for the desired effect in this recipe. Ask anyone about paprika and they’ll tell you something vague about deviled eggs at the holidays, but they probably won’t mention anything about how good fresh paprika tastes. Smoked Hot Paprika would do just as well as the smoked sweet, but might add a little bit more heat. For the Saffron, crushing about two pinches worth will do just fine to add both color and flavor to your dish. Crush the saffron in your hands for the best effect.
When it comes to the bread, Jeff recommends a crusty bread, like a baguette or a nice loaf of fresh Italian bread as the base for the topping. He used a baguette which was hand torn into pieces and then fried on a skillet, almost like a homemade crouton. The topping is what really makes the dish so excellent, so it is important to pay close attention to the consistency. You want it to feel meaty but also have a little bit of spread to it, so it can be added with a spoon. If it is crumbly, you need a little bit more water. “When it’s right, you’ll just know.”
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 lbs small yellow potatoes, washed and cut into halves or quarters
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 2 pinches Saffron threads, crushed
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, blanched almonds
- 1 1/2 cup baguette bread or crusty bread, torn into pieces
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Sweet Paprika
- Hot water
- Apply a thin coat of olive oil to a large oven safe pan that has an oven safe lid.
- Spread potatoes evenly in the pan and sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and saffron.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
- In a small skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat until very hot.
- Add garlic cloves and almonds and fry for a few minutes until golden.
- Carefully remove to the bowl of a food processor.
- Heat the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet and add bread pieces.
- Stirring often, cook until until golden brown and crisp.
- Remove the bread and add it to food processor.
- Add Smoked Sweet Paprika, and a Tablespoon of hot water.
- Grind until a coarse paste forms, adding more hot water by the Tablespoon if mixture is too dry.
- Spoon the bread mixture evenly over the potatoes.
- Pour remaining water over the potatoes.
- Cover the potatoes and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and stir to incorporate the bread mixture into the dish.
- Cover again and return to the oven for 20 minutes.
- Potatoes will be done when they are tender and cooked through.
- Optional - to add a little more crispness, return the uncovered pan to the oven and set to broil for 2-3 additional minutes.
- Let stand a few minutes before serving.