José Pizarro's Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Cilantro Mojo Recipe on Food52 (2024)

Serves a Crowd

by: Genius Recipes



5 Ratings

  • Serves 6

Jump to Recipe

Author Notes

If you boil new potatoes just a little differently -- in a wide shallow pan in a single layer, with no lid and a lot of sea salt -- you get a head-turning new appetizer. Or serve it as a side for grilled steaks or chops or butterflied chicken to and the mojo will get even more play. Adapted slightly from Spanish Flavors (Kyle Books, 2013) —Genius Recipes

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • Salt-Crusted Potatoes
  • 2 1/4 poundsevenly sized waxy new potatoes, such as fingerling, scrubbed but unpeeled
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Cilantro Mojo
  • 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Leaves from a bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoonfreshly ground cumin seeds
  • Scant 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoonswhite wine vinegar, Muscatel if possible
  1. Put the potatoes into a wide, shallow pan in which they fit in a single layer. Add 2 tablespoons salt and 1 quart cold water (just enough to cover), bring to a boil, and leave to boil rapidly until the water has evaporated. Then turn the heat to low and continue to cook for a few minutes, gently turning the potatoes over occasionally, until they are dry and the skins are wrinkled and covered in a thin crust of salt.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, make the cilantro mojo. Put the garlic, green chili pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt in a mortar, and pound into a paste. Add the cilantro leaves, and pound until they are incorporated into the paste. Add the cumin, and gradually mix in the oil to make a smooth sauce. Just before serving, add the vinegar, and spoon into a small bowl.
  3. Pile the hot potatoes onto a plate and serve with the mojo, instructing your guests to rub off as much salt from the potatoes as they wish before dipping them in the sauce.


  • Cilantro
  • Cumin
  • Potato
  • Vegetable
  • Vinegar
  • Serves a Crowd
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fourth of July
  • Memorial Day
  • Father's Day
  • Gluten-Free

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lucy Collins

  • RavensFeast

  • bhilz

  • alicia

  • Grace

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Popular on Food52

44 Reviews

Lucy C. May 17, 2021

I had unbelievably high hopes for this recipe but unfortunately it wasn't to be... they're nigh unbearably salty. We ended up all but rinsing them to try and get some excess off after rubbing them (as suggested) failed, and it was still a wash-out. The sauce was fine! Nothing to write home about, though, and it didn't do nearly enough to cut the salt.

LCMiles January 7, 2020

This recipe is excellent and worked well, but I would probably cut the garlic next time in the sauce for my husband, who likes raw garlic but not overpowering. Maybe I just had a small batch of cilantro and need more of that to counter.

Jenica January 30, 2019

I am pleading with every cookbook author, food blogger, and food website. PLEASE, for the sanity of your readers in Texas (and, I imagine, the rest of the southwest) can you be more specific about "green chili pepper"? The amount of time I have spent staring at the wall of chili peppers that is standard in Texas supermarkets, stressing out about which of the at least 7 types of chili peppers that are green (because none of them are called "green chili pepper") you might mean, is too much. Even just mentioning whether it should be mild/sweet, medium, or spicy would be so helpful. Thanks!

mizerychik August 30, 2021

I'm in the Northeast, and even up here "green chili pepper" is way too vague. I have serranos, jalapenos, and poblanos all in my garden right now, and their heat level varies wildly.

Titi January 11, 2019

Wow! I got the Genius Recipes cookbook as a Christmas present from my husband (yay!!), and made these potatoes last night: after tasting them I just wanted to message all my friends and tell them about this recipe! All the family loved them, I am sure we will be making them very often!

RavensFeast November 16, 2018

This recipe changed the game on fingerling potatoes. Timing is important in order to serve these at their best: taut skinned, piping hot and creamy. I love serving them with brava sauce and aioli. Don’t be tempted to crowd the pan - only a single layer will produce evenly cooked taters. As well, a heavy-bottomed pot and like-sized potatoes are recommended.

bhilz April 9, 2018

I had tried the salty shallow-boil technique a few times and found the resulting potatoes unevenly cooked and underwhelming. BUT THEN one night I lost patience, drained the potatoes after they were par-boiled and just fork tender, and then in the same pan (now dried) sauteed them in olive oil. Served with the cilantro mojo and people FREAKED OUT. This dish is fantastic because it meets virtually every dietary restriction (easily adaptable for non-cilantro people), and is always a hit.

Irene July 18, 2018

Hi bhilz, I suggest you to try slightly smashing the potatoes with a wide spatula after par-boiling them...just so until the skin begins to break and they have a flat surface on both sides. Then sautee them in olive oil. The flat surface will crisp better.

btglenn June 24, 2016

I just made and used the sauce on roast chicken. Lovely. Using it it on overly salty potatoes seems like such a waste.

alicia March 18, 2016

The sauce was amazing, but the potatoes were far too salty for our taste.

Grace December 20, 2015

Just made these and LOVED them. The most tender and crisp little salt nuggets. Enjoyed with grilled steak and yes, the MOJO sauce is 100% necessary.

Ruthan November 8, 2015

Might finally be time for me to ask the local wine bar what kind of salt they put on their truffle fries -- it's got a certain tang to it that I bet this would really show off.

bookdwarf August 31, 2015

Made these last night and served with a roasted 1/2 chicken that I put a garlic/lemon zest compound butter under the skin. The mojo sauce paired perfectly with both. So delicious!

Nacho J. August 4, 2015

Made these for dinner tonight. Pretty good but honestly they're just really salty potatoes. It needs something else...just not sure what...yet. Thanks. :/

aquarius November 9, 2015

Did you serve them with the MOJO sauce? It makes the dish.

Shanzie March 10, 2015

I'm not a huge fan of these. They cooked up as described but the taste was nothing special. Just salty.

melissa September 2, 2014

What a simple yet amazing way to make potatoes! The salt perfectly coats the outside of the potato, and for the cilantro lovers out there - you can't go wrong with this dipping sauce. I used serrano pepper and it was the perfect amount of heat (IMO anyway). Def making this a staple.

RavensFeast April 5, 2014

I'm so glad you shared this recipe, it is stellar! I used to enjoy a lot of potatoes with Mojo Picon in Spain, but never did I learn the salt water evaporation technique. I've made the recipe a few times now and have found that timing is relevant in terms of service. Their magic diminished a bit once they cooled (though, still good!), but served piping hot, they were pure bliss. I'm going to venture to guess that Torrisi's Spicy Sauce would be another winning accompaniment (perhaps with a dollop of homemade aioli - Patatas Bravas style!):

Maurine F. January 12, 2014

I recently served these , halved, topped with creme fraiche and caviar.

Montserrat November 29, 2013

This way of cooking the potatoes comes fron canary islands. Its our traditional dish called : papas arrugadas. And we served with a Sauce called mojo picón .

Patti L. September 12, 2013

Wondering if regular sea salt (large granule) or kosher flakes would work the same. Might be a dumb question but I'm not a pro!

Kristen M. September 12, 2013

They'll both work! They both dissolve in the water, which then evaporates to form the crust. The same volume of finer grain salts will be saltier than larger grain salts, but you end up leaving a lot of salt behind in the pan anyway, so the difference in saltiness is somewhat negligible.

melbelgibson August 9, 2013

Just made this! This sauce is so good that my husband and I were trying to find things to dump it on! And the potatoes are so deliciously salty and wonderfully buttery on this inside. Fantastic!

Mak June 25, 2013

The sauce is very good and can be used with other items, not just potatoes as mentioned by others. The one thing I do not like about the skin from the peppers. Does anyone know a easy way to peal the peppers?

Beth C. June 26, 2013

You can roast the peppers over an open flame on your stove or under a broiler until blistered. Then put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 min. The skins should rub right off. It will change the flavor a bit, but should work well.

Irene July 18, 2018

I recommend you the same idea as Beth's but instead of using plastic wrap, just place a shallow plate or "tight" lid on top of the bowl

José Pizarro's Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Cilantro Mojo Recipe on Food52 (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kerri Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 5769

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kerri Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1992-10-31

Address: Suite 878 3699 Chantelle Roads, Colebury, NC 68599

Phone: +6111989609516

Job: Chief Farming Manager

Hobby: Mycology, Stone skipping, Dowsing, Whittling, Taxidermy, Sand art, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Kerri Lueilwitz, I am a courageous, gentle, quaint, thankful, outstanding, brave, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.