Crispy Potatoes with California Avocado Aioli
|1 1/2||lb.||peewee potatoes (red skinned, bananas, or a mix of both)|
|1||Tbsp.||fleur de sel salt (such as Maldon)|
|California Avocado Aioli (see make-ahead recipe, below)|
|California Avocado Aioli|
|2||cloves garlic, peeled|
|1/2||tsp.||fine sea salt|
|1||large egg yolk|
|1/2||cup||extra virgin olive oil, divided|
|1||Tbsp.||extra virgin olive oil, divided|
|1/2||ripe, Fresh California Avocados, seeded and peeled|
|1||lemon, for squeezing|
As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados
- Rinse and scrub potatoes. Fill a stockpot with water and a heavy hand of sea salt and place over a burner on high flame. (The water should taste salty).
- When the water reaches a boil, slowly add the potatoes and turn heat down slightly. Cook the potatoes until tender, testing a potato by piercing it with a sharp knife. When the knife point easily makes its way through to the middle of the potato, it is done – about 10-15 minutes.
- Drain potatoes in a colander and then transfer to a baking sheet lined with towels to cool.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, flatten them (either with your hand, a towel underneath your hand or a spatula) down to about a 1/3-inch and let cool.*
- Heat a cast-iron skillet to medium-high and add the canola oil and butter.** Test the oil with a small piece of potato—if it bubbles visually and audibly, then you can reduce the heat to medium and start frying the potatoes in spread-out layers.
- Let each side cook, undisturbed, until it gets the crunchy caramelized color you know and love, about 7 minutes a side. Flip and continue on the other side.
- Transfer finished potatoes to a tray lined with towels and immediately sprinkle with fleur de sel and a heavy squeeze of lemon.
- Serve potatoes on a large platter with a generous bowl of California Avocado Aioli on the side. Enjoy!
*Chef’s Note: The longer you can let these flattened potatoes sit out, the more moisture they will lose and the crispier they will get when you go to fry them. I sometimes let my potatoes just sit in the fridge overnight. It’s worth it.
**Chef’s Note: You can use just canola, I personally enjoy the flavor browned butter adds to the potato.
California Avocado Aioli
- Using a mortar and pestle (or food processor)*, smash the garlic and salt together until smooth. Add the egg yolk and then pound with the pestle to break up the yolk.
- Combine ½ cup olive oil and all the canola oil in a measuring cup that has a pouring spout. While constantly stirring the garlic-egg mixture with the pestle (or the food processor on low speed), slowly drizzle in a few drops of the blended oil. Keep stirring in the same direction as you add another few drops. You’ll notice the aioli will begin to emulsify**; it will thicken and get sticky. Once it gets ribbony and tight, you will want to add a squeeze of lemon juice to loosen it up, although you don’t have to.
- Stay with this tempo, stirring and very, very slowly adding the oil, until you’ve added it all. It’s important to drizzle in the oil in a slow, steady stream and it’s also important to stir constantly but not too fast. If you’re doing it in a mortar and pestle place a damp cloth underneath to keep the bowl stable.
- Once you’ve added all the oil, taste the aioli and add a bit more salt and lemon juice for acid if it needs it. I always think it needs it.
- Move aioli to a larger than needed bowl and clean out the food processor bowl.
- Place the avocado into the mixer with a good pinch of salt, lemon juice, remaining tablespoon of oil and blend until smooth.
- With a spatula, lightly mix the avocado and aioli together as to not break the aioli, but to blend the avocado and aioli together.
*Chef’s Note: It’s possible to make aioli using a bowl and a whisk, or a food processor with a pour spout, or even an immersion blender. For the food processor, it’ll work better if you double or even triple this recipe; one yolk isn’t quite enough volume for the spinning blade to reach successfully.
**Chef’s Note: Sometimes when you try to make aioli, it breaks. You’ll know because the oil will separate from the yolk and the whole thing will look thin and not gloppy like mayonnaise. To fix this, crack a fresh egg yolk into a clean bowl. Transfer the broken aioli to a container that has a pouring spout. While stirring the new yolk, slowly—very, very slowly—add the broken aioli drop by drop, treating it as if it were the oil. You may need to add more oil after you’ve added all the broken aioli because now you’re working with 2 yolks.
*** Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.