Potato Towers with Tuna and Olives
Delicias de Patatas, Atun, y aceitunas
At Basque bars, when spicy, briny things aren't skewered, they are usually stacked into decorative towers held together with toothpicks. Bathed in a mild vinaigrette and fancifully arranged on big plates, these variations on the theme of anchovies, tuna and olives are just what the doctor ordered to stimulate the appetite and soften the effects of alcohol.
You can play with this recipe, substituting tomato slices for potatoes as a base or adding poached shrimp to the towers instead of, or in addition to, the anchovies. If you can't find piquillo peppers, omit them or use pimientos. These make a perfect starter to an alfresco summer luncheon.
• 3 all-purpose boiling potatoes, unpeeled
• Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
• 4 large hard-cooked eggs, sliced
• 6 to 7 piquillo peppers (from a can or jar), or 3 to 4 roasted pimientos, each cut into 3 wedges
• 12 ounces imported solid oil-packed tuna, or 2 cans (each 6 ounces) Bumble Bee tonno in olive oil, drained and broken into 1-inch chunks
• 18 to 20 best-quality oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
• 18 to 20 pimiento-stuffed manzanilla olives
• Double recipe of Basque Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1. Place the potatoes in a medium-size saucepan, add cold water to cover them by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes, partially covered, until they are completely tender when pricked with a skewer, about 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes. When just cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4-inch slices.
2. Place a potato slice on a large rimmed serving platter and sprinkle a little salt on it. Top the potato with an egg slice, a piquillo pepper wedge, a chunk of tuna, an anchovy and an olive, lightly salting each layer before adding the next. Skewer the tower with a toothpick to hold it together. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Pour the vinaigrette over the towers and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour or refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 6 hours. Spoon vinaigrette over the towers two times as they stand. Makes 18 to 20.
• 1/3 cup minced red bell pepper
• 1/4 cup finely minced green bell pepper
• 1/4 cup minced white onion
• 1 medium-size garlic clove, minced
• 1/4 cup light olive oil
• 3 tablespoons best-quality white wine vinegar
Place the red and green peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a bowl and stir to mix. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Source: Recipes © 2005 from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen. Featuring over 300 unique recipes, The New Spanish Table protrays the food and culture of Spain at its most vibrant. The perfect pairing for delicious Spanish wines! (Workman Publishing Co. Inc.)