A couple of days ago we finally hosted a party for the opening of our boutique Mexican grocer, Picado, in South Richmond Street in Dublin 2. This was attempt two after the first attempt had to be abandoned because of my churro related accient a month ago. The planning and executing of the party was a little rushed and cortailed from the original plans, but I did not want my parents going home without us having it.
When it came to choose the food for the party, I knew I needed to be practical as my arm is still very sensitive to heat sources, so there was no way I was going to be able to serve hot food or a massive spread.
Mama offered a lot of help and suggestions, so we finally decided on a cold menu that included, a Mexican pasta salad, two salsas, home made totopos, or tortilla chips, Tostadas de la Siberia (a traditional tostada from Monterrey made with chicken, pickled jalapenos and avocado), we also made salpicon (a beef, queso fresco and avocado salad) and mama's specialty, pickled potatoes.
Whenever I'm home, mama always has a bowl of these delicious potatoes on the table. We add them to everything an anything and they have become a sort of side dish for practically everything and a nice snack in the afternoon. She varies the accompanied vegetables depending on the season, but most of the time you'll find the potatoes with carrots and onions. She favours cauliflower florets and, from time to time, mushrooms too.
So, given that...
1) EVERYBODY loved the pickled potatoes at the party,
2) We are in Ireland and Irish potatoes are GORGEOUS and
3) Today is actually National Potato Day, I've decided to share the recipe with you.
We Mexicans like our pickles; we pickled a lot of chilies: pickled serranos, jalapenos and the north part of the country particularly enjoys pickled piquin chilies, which grow wild in little bushes and are tiny, round and innocent looking, but fiery as hell. Mama decided to marry two of her loves, pickled chilies and potatoes a long time ago and her original recipe has been improved over time with the introduction of different vinegars to the market, above all sweet ones that balance the spicy pickled vinegar added by the chilies. A few years ago, I introduced her to sweet rice vinegar, used traditionally to season sushi rice. She loved it so much she adapted her 50 year old pickled recipe to use it! So here it is, Mama's famous pickled potatoes!
Note: I used commercially available sushi seasoning, which is traditionally made with rice vinegar which has been gently heated with sugar until the sugar is dissolved, I like Mizcan or Kikoman, both brands available in the Asian supermarkets, but if you want to make yours from scratch, I recommend you visiting my friend's Fiona Uyema's blog, to learn how to prepare this sushi rice seasoning from scratch.
Fill a large pot with water and add the potatoes, previously peeled and add the table salt. Make sure the potatoes are covered with the water. Turn the heat to medium and simmer them for 8 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are almost cooked, you want them with a bit of bite to them. Strain them and set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking, cut the carrots in thick slices. You want the nice and chunky. Fill another pot with water and add the carrots, simmer them for about 8 minutes. Add the slices of onion and cook for further 2 minutes. By now, the carrots should be cooked, but with a bit of bite and the onion should have lost its harshness. Drain the carrots and onions and set them aside.
Put the potatoes, carrots and onions in a big glass bowl. Follow by adding the pickled serrano peppers with the carrots and onions that come with them in the tin. Make sure you don't add the juice from the tin, that needs to be reserved for later. Mix all the vegetables well. It is important to mention that from here on, you need to use wooden or plastic spoons to work the mixture. Vinegar does not react well when using steel.
Pour the sushi seasoning over the vegetables followed by 2 tablespoons of the vinegary juices from the tinned serranos. Sprinkle the oregano and salt to taste and mix everything well. Let the vegetables rest for about 1 hour or better still overnight. Make sure to turn this mixture a few times in between to make sure all the vegetables are covered in the liquid.
This is a gorgeous way to enjoy baby potatoes. It keeps well covered in the fridge. Sensational the day after. If you are worried about them being too hot, use only half the pickled serranos or none at all! We love it at home. Happy National Potato Day everybody!! Oh, I almost forgot! If you want to learn about potatoes, or 'spuds' as they're called in Ireland, hop into my friend's Aoife Cox award winning blog, The Daily Spud, for all things tatoes!