Sicilian Spiced Potato Sauce Sicilian Spiced Potato Sauce

Many years ago the Greeks passed through Sicily, leaving fabulous temples, sculptures, and some pretty good recipes. Over time, this dish evolved. It’s a really interesting variation on the classic lemon and garlic potato purée. The poppy seeds and hot pepper add richness to the sauce, which usually is served as a condiment for cooked fish, shellfish, and vegetables.


  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ¼ cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and prick in a few places with the point of a small knife. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let stand until until cool enough to handle. Then cut in half and scoop out the pulp. Put the pulp through a ricer or mash very thoroughly with a potato masher. Measure about 2 cups.

Sprinkle the salt over the garlic in a mortar or on a cutting board, and mash to to a smooth paste with a pestle or with the flat side of a large knife. Transfer to the container of a food processor along with the almonds, poppy seeds, red pepper flakes or cayenne, parsley, and a little of the vinegar. (Or, if you’re not a perfectionist, don’t bother mashing the garlic—just put it and the salt in the food processor along with the other ingredients.) Add the potatoes and pulse quickly to combine. (Do not over-process or the potatoes will be gluey.) Quickly pulse in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. If too thick, thin with water.