Vegetarian Vuelta a España: Spanish Potatoes with Saffron, Almonds, and Bread Crumbs

August 19, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Side Dishes, Vegetarian Vuelta a España Print This Post Print This Post

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It all began couple years ago on Veggin’ with a vegetarian Tour of France, then a vegetarian Giro d’Italia, next a brief dip into a vegetarian Tour of California, now let’s tour España.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be bringing some vegetarian twists on Spanish recipes that will coincide with the 66th running of the Vuelta a España. I will also be posting simultaneously on Podium Cafe – an infamous cycling fan site where good people meet up to talk about their love of the sport.

We’ll talk a little bit more about the race in the days to come, but it’s time for eating.

Legend has it that the first potato arrived in Europe from the “New World” through Spain sometime in the mid-1500’s. Since then, Spain has adored the spud featuring it in many classic recipes. This recipe for spanish potatoes is no exception which can be enjoyed as a side dish or part of your tapas presentation.

I was asked, when I announced my intentions to do a vegetarian Vuelta a España if I’d be featuring saffron. But, of course! Spain is the largest exporter of saffron, so it’s only natural I use it in these recipes. Saffron is the bright star of this dish leaving you with that subtle perfumed flower flavor. Don’t worry about blowing your budget on this expensive flavoring, just a little bit will do you just right in this recipe.

If you’re patient enough, and can stand the wonderful cooking smells from the oven, let these potatoes get nice and crispy in the oven. That little extra time will adds a little smokiness and texture to the potatoes.

Spanish Potatoes with Saffron, Almonds, and Bread Crumbs
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison (See my review of this cookbook.)

  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • salt and freshly milled pepper
  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, roughly chopped (I used sliced almonds and chopped them.)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 cups boiling water or Herb and Garlic broth (recipe forthcoming)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 slice country white bread

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a gratin dish that’s large enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer. Add the potatoes, season them with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the saffron.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat, tear the bread into pieces, and fry it with the almonds and garlic until golden.

Remove the garlic if it gets too dark. Grind the mixture in a food processor with the paprika, adding a little of the boiling water to make it smooth.

Season it with salt and pepper, add it to the potatoes, and pour over the remaining liquid.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes, then uncover, gently stir the contents of the dish, and continue baking until the liquid has been absorbed and the potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Brown the top under the broiler and garnish with the parsley.

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