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.
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
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.
© 1992 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.