Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I Can Make That Too: Spicy Potato Spread in Mom’s Kitchen vs. the Restaurant Version

Chef Hannes Spicy Potato Spread
One of my favorite local restaurants in Southern California is Chef Hannes in El Segundo, not far from the Los Angeles Airport.  When you arrive for lunch or dinner, the first dish that lands on your table is a complimentary bowl of thick green spread accompanied by slices of French bread.

I wasn’t sure what I was eating, but I knew that I liked it.  I hinted to the owner, who sometimes also serves as the waiter, that I would like the recipe. All I got were two clues: garlic and potatoes. 

For several years I tried to duplicate this appetizer in my kitchen.  After making another inedible version, which this time included vinegar, I finally had a breakthrough.  Pesto.  I had a jar of Basil Pesto, which I keep around as an easy topping for spaghetti.  It’s green and garlicky.  Why not mash a boiled potato and stir in a few spoonfuls of pesto.  It worked.  I drizzled some hot sauce on the top, heated up some French bread and demolished the whole bowl.
My Spicy Potato Spread
Spicy Potato Spread – serves 4 
2 medium potatoes
1/4 cup basil pesto + more if needed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Several drops hot sauce + more if preferred
Sliced French bread 
Boil the potatoes in water for about 20-25 minutes, or until they can be pierced easily with a knife.  Drain the water and pull off and discard the potato skins.  Roughly mash the potatoes with a fork. 
Stir in the basil pesto, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is mostly green, with only a few flecks of white showing.  Add the salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.  Taste to see if more seasoning is needed. 
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and top with some hot sauce.  Serve with slices of French bread, warm if possible.
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