Papas arrugadas or wrinkly boiled potatoes in a thick salt crust: this is a classic side dish from the Canary Islands!
Serve them with mojo sauce, mojo verde and mojo rojo.
Have you heard of these papas arrugadas or wrinkly potatoes before?
Who knows maybe you have visited the Spanish Canary Islands before in the past? Or a friend of yours did and talked about these local boiled potatoes in a salt crust?
Whatever it is, there is no way that you can spend time on one of those islands without bumping into this local potato special. and we absolutely love them!
So what is the secret behind them?
Canarian wrinkly potatoes
Find it out here!
Love it or hate it. Because indeed you serve these boiled potatoes wrapped in a layer of salt. If you order wrinkly potatoes somewhere, this is how they should at least look like.
Do you eat all that salt then?
It depends on how much salt you like. Perhaps just looking at these potatoes already raises your blood pressure. But I have to admit that the salt really adds to the flavor if you ask me.
I’m a salty tooth so you won’t hear me complain. However I have heard people complain before about them, too salty, too dried out.
Whether you like wrinkly potatoes is a pure personal choice!
Not everyone likes these papas arrugadas. Even though I think that they are one of the best potatoes in the world, other people have called them the worst potatoes ever.
Again, it is purely personal.
But here at home we love them!
Salty Spanish papas arrugadas
Can you use just any potato to make these wrinkly potatoes?
I would say yes, I have used lots of different types of potatoes before because the potatoes are cooked with their skin still attached. But I like my papas creamy on the inside and not too sticky.
One thing though: choose very small potatoes to make papas arrugadas. Imagine that crunchy when you bite into one, that salt crust and potato peel burst the second your teeth sink in.
Where does this recipe come from?
Well the story I have heard the most so far after living in Tenerife for over 6 years is that the local potatoes were boiled in pure seawater. Once boiled, you add the potatoes back to the pan and to dry them out until a layer of salt appears on the potato skins.
So that is the trick behind the papas arrugadas then: boil them in very salty water and then dry them out on the stove to get that crust.
Papas Arrugadas (Canarian Wrinkly Potatoes)
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Servings: 4 persons
- 1 lb small potatoes (450 g)
- 3 cups water (720 ml)
- 4,5 oz coarse salt (125 g)
- Scrub the potatoes very well. Make sure that all the sand is gone, but don’t peel them.
- Then transfer them to a large pan and add the coarse salt and water.
- Place the pan over high heat until the water comes to a rolling boil. Then turn the heat lower to medium. Cover the pan and boil the potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Then drain the potatoes and immediately transfer them back to the same pan.
- Place the pan back over medium heat and let the papas arrugadas dry out for 5 minutes or until they have turned all white. That is the salt layer forming on the potato skin. Then transfer the papas arrugadas to a dish and serve with mojo.
Canarian Mojo Sauce
It is really as simple as that.
So, what should you serve these papas arrugadas with?
You will most likely get wrinkly potatoes with a dipping sauce, the famous Canarian red or green mojos. Or an aioli or garlic mayo.
What a treat.
My fresh mojo verde recipe prepared from scratch!
Do you know what mojo is?
It is a classic Canarian garlicky green herb sauce and tastes great with papas arrugadas, bread, grilled cheese, seafood or fish!
Easy Mojo Verde Recipe from Scratch
Nope, this is definitely not that other popular green herb sauce from South American, chimichurri. But it is a Canarian mojo verde from scratch! Do you know mojo?
Have you ever visited the Canary islands before?
Then you must have tasted or at least seen this mojo during your stay. It’s everywhere. If you eat out, almost every traditional Canarian restaurant will serve 1 to 2 types of mojo together with a portion of aioli or Spanish garlic mayonnaise.
It comes with fresh bread as a little snack while you wait for the food you just ordered. And it’s hard to keep away from it because that sauce looks just amazing!
Have you heard of Canarian papas arrugadas or local ‘wrinkly’ potatoes before?
Then you will also get the same mojo with them!
Mojo Suave & Mojo Picante
There are 3 types of mojo: mojo verde, mojo rojo suave and mojo rojo picon.
Mojo rojo is made with red bell pepper, cumin, garlic and bread. Suave is very mild and soft in flavor. However mojo picon is a spicier version of the mojo rojo, just add red chilies or chili sauce to the red bell pepper mixture.
A classic mojo verde recipe contains parsley but the most important herb in it is fresh cilantro. Some chefs also add raw green bell pepper to it. Just know how much raw garlic you want to add or it might become too strong to eat.
Shellfish & Seafood
This green mojo is not only a dip for bread or boiled potatoes.
Canarians also put mojo verde on top of seafood like squid and octopus. Or cooked shellfish like scallops and the local limpets called lapas. You can also find it on grilled fish and grilled Canarian cheese.
Prep time: 30 min
Servings: 1 cup
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- ⅙ cup olive oil (40 ml)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp white wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp water
- Peel the garlic cloves and add them to a clean blender.
- Pulse into a very fine puree. Wash and drain the fresh cilantro and parsley. Chop it up roughly and add it to the blender together with the cumin seeds.
- Pulse again. Add the water and half of the olive oil.
- Blend into a thick herb paste. Now add the vinegar.
- Mix again. Now gradually add the rest of the olive oil until you get a creamy and rather runny paste, something like a basil pesto. Add extra water or olive oil if necessary. When you have achieved this, season the mojo with a little pinch of pepper and salt.
- Pulse again and taste the sauce. Add extra pepper, salt or vinegar to taste if necessary.
- Transfer the mojo to a clean bowl and serve at room temperature.
Mojo Suave & Mojo Picante
If you want to give the other 2 mojos a try…
Replace the dried peppers by fresh bell peppers to make the non spicy suave version.