Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and I have a fun brunch/side/appetizer dish to share with you all today.
Admittedly, I am in denial that Mother’s Day is this weekend. Like, when did THAT happen? Where did the last month go? I am also saying this always about every month, so feel free to ignore me.
My sister’s bachelorette weekend was this past weekend, and it was so much fun. We booked an airbnb in Ft. Lauderdale and just had the best time ever. My sister’s wedding is exactly one month from yesterday, and I am going to cry all the ugly cry tears. I cannot wait.
Her bachelorette also coincided with Cinco de Mayo, and let me tell you, it added such a fun theme to our weekend. We ate Mexican food (I personally ate my weight in chips and salsa), drank tonsss of margaritas, and danced until our bodies hurt in all the best ways (I’m still recovering). My sister danced her little heart out, and we all enjoyed the show. It was a truly fabulous weekend.
Now, I’m here trying to wrap my head around the fact that it’s May and we’re headed into Mother’s Day weekend. Whaaaat?
Luckily, I am prepared. Let’s talk potatoes. (TBH, I could talk potatoes all day, every day.)
No, we’re not discussing just any old tater. While I’ve never met a spud I didn’t like, these crispy manchego cheese potatoes are something reeeaaaal special. Especially when dunked in the most delicious (and easy!) romesco sauce. Swoon!
The potatoes get parboiled and then smashed slightly. You put the slightly smashed potatoes on a baking sheet with some oil and salt and crisp them up in a hot oven for a bit. When they come out of the oven, they’re crispy and crunchy and glorious. Almost like a french fry. ALMOST.
To take things to the next level, a generous grating of manchego cheese goes on next. Manchego is one of my least used but most favorite cheeses. It is very similar to a parmesan, but slightly creamier and a little nuttier. It is fantastic! On that note, though, you can sub parmesan or pecorino or even cheddar here. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at any of those variations.
The manchego gets warmed up and melty and creates an extra layer of crust on the outside of the potatoes, thanks to the hot baking sheet. And let me tell you this: there is nothing more delicious than the leftover crispy cheese shards left on the tray. OMG. Definitely offer to do the dishes after making this. You won’t regret it, and you definitely won’t want to share.
You can serve these just as they are. They are so delicious, they don’t really even need a condiment or a dip. BUT! I had to take us to that next level. Again. I can’t help myself!
Enter romesco sauce! I looooooove romesco sauce, which is basically a Spanish red pepper and almond dip that gets whirred up in a blender until super smooth and creamy. It’s kind of like the equivalent of a pesto, but swap out the herbs for roasted red peppers.
It’s tangy, slightly sweet, and has the most amazingly creamy texture from the almonds and olive oil. A splash of sherry vinegar ties everything together. The best part? You can eat romesco on just about anything. Sandwiches. With cheese (oh! I might add it to my next cheeseboard) and crackers. Over pasta. With grilled veggies.
The possibilities are endless.
One thing’s for sure: if you make these for mom this weekend, you will be a hero. The Mother’s Day Hero. I guarantee it.
After all, is there such a thing as a bad potato? I think not.
1 lb baby potatoes
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup grated manchego cheese
Fresh chives or parsley, for garnish
1 (12-oz) jar of roasted red peppers, drained well
4 Roma or plum tomatoes, quartered
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
¼ cup parsley
2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the potatoes and a generous pinch of salt into a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover the potatoes.
Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes well.
Line a baking sheet with foil and place a piece of parchment paper on top (this prevents the potatoes from sticking). Spread the potatoes out on the baking sheet in an even layer.
With a potato masher, gently press each potato to slightly squish it. It’s OK if the potato insides pop out of the skins a bit – you want this for ultimate crispiness!
Drizzle the oil evenly over top and season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning them over halfway through, or until the skins are crispy and golden brown. Scatter the manchego cheese over the potatoes during the last minute of cooking time.
Serve warm, garnished with chives or parsley, and alongside the romesco sauce.
In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients for the sauce. Pulse or blend until everything is smooth and creamy. You can leave the sauce a little chunky if you prefer, but I like a very smooth sauce.
This can be made up to a week ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Potatoes adapted from here.