Although the cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum), and its Spanish name “papa” both originally came from the Quechua culture in Peru, there were at least a couple of varieties of wild potato in pre-Hispanic Mexico (Solanum cardiophyllum, Solanum ehrenbergii, and Solanum stoloniferum) that were collected, and sometimes traded, between the corn and bean seasons. Nowadays, small markets still carry some crops from local farmers of these rather small potatoes, with the common names of Citlali, Galeana, güera (blondie), or de monte (from de hills.)
Exactly one year ago, I posted a recipe for fish filets in garlic sauce; the original recipe, as I had mentioned, was created for shrimp, but since I am allergic to crustaceans, fish has always been a great option for me. Another delicious – and vegetarian – option with the same sauce is potatoes, usually small varieties that may be eaten with the skin on. Since there was not a chance for me to find Mexican papas de monte, I settled for baby potatoes.
Baby Potatoes in Garlic Sauce – Papitas al ajillo
2 lb (approx. 1 kg) baby potatoes
½ cup butter
1 tbsp olive oil
8 cloves garlic
2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp black pepper, or to taste
2 tbsp lime juice
Splash of hot sauce (such as Tabasco™, Cholula™, etc.)
Cook potatoes in boiling water, until tender, about 20 minutes (photo below, left); drain and reserve. In a large pan, warm up butter and oil over medium heat, stirring until butter is completely melted (photo below, right):
Add drained potatoes (photo below, left) and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, peel garlic and slice into thin slivers. Once the potatoes look crispy, add garlic (photo below, right):
Lower heat and stir to prevent garlic from burning; season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with lime juice and hot sauce, cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot:
These potatoes may be served with a salad for a vegetarian meal, paired with any grilled protein (fish, steak, even tofu), or served next to a main dish, as in the photo below, with meatloaf (click here to check my recipe):
These potatoes were an instant hit with the family.