Smoked Potato Appetizer with Saffron Aioli
(courtesy of Josh Deri and Whitney Reichman, chefs/owners, Blend Catering in Reno. Serves 10)
Deri recommends steeping saffron in liquids such as vinegar or broth rather than in fat. “The flavor comes out a lot better in a liquid,” he says. “Saffron also is very strong and potent, and a little goes a long way.”
2 pinches saffron
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
20 small fingerling or baby potatoes
Pinch of salt (for potatoes)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1½ cups olive oil
2 cups canola or grapeseed oil
Several slices Serrano ham or prosciutto
Steep saffron in sherry vinegar and set aside until ready to make aioli.
Place potatoes and pinch of salt in pot of cold water and bring to boil. Simmer potatoes on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until they are cooked through. Remove potatoes from water and smash lightly with a spoon so they keep their round shape.
For the aioli, combine saffron-sherry mixture, egg yolks, smoked paprika, teaspoon of salt, Dijon mustard, honey, shallot, and garlic in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. With food processor or blender running on low speed, slowly drizzle in olive oil until aioli emulsifies and has consistency of mayonnaise.
Crisp potatoes: Heat canola or grapeseed oil in pan to 375 degrees F. Fry potatoes until dark golden brown. Season lightly with salt.
To assemble, add small amount of aioli atop each crispy potato, then top with piece of sliced ham or prosciutto and sliced chives.