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Fried Potatoes with Cabrales Sauce and Fresh Blue Cheese

July 2012

Cabrales is not for the faint of heart. This pungent, veiny blue cheese is aged in caves in José’s home region of Asturias. The cheese makes a flavorful sauce to set off potatoes in this classic recipe.

Patatas al Cabrales
Fried potatoes with Cabrales sauce and fresh Cabrales blue 

Serves 2-4

For the Cabrales sauce:
¼ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
2 cups demi-glace
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
4 ounces Cabrales blue cheese, crumbled into small pieces

For the potatoes:
2 cups Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives

To make the sauce, heat the wine in a saucepan over medium heat,  add the shallots and cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 2  minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the demi-glace and bring to a  boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the demi-glace to simmer and reduce by one third, about 5 minutes. Add 2 ounces of the crumbled Cabrales and stir until the cheese has melted.
Stir in the heavy cream and simmer until the sauce becomes thick and coats the back of your spoon, about 3 minutes. Pour the sauce into a blender and puree. Strain the pureed sauce through a fine mesh sieve into the saucepan and keep warm.

Prepare the potatoes: Pour the olive oil into a deep saucepan and heat to 275 degrees (on a candy thermometer). Working in batches, place the potatoes in the oil and poach them, frying them slowly until soft, 8-10 minutes. The potatoes won’t change color but they will soften all the way through. Test for softness by inserting a toothpick: if it comes out easily, the potatoes are done. Remove them from the pan and set aside to let drain. Be sure to let the oil return to 275  degrees between batches.

Once all of the potatoes are poached, raise the temperature of the olive oil to 350 degrees (on a candy thermometer). Return the potatoes to the pan, in batches, and fry until they are crisp and brown, about 6 minutes. Drain the potatoes on a paper towel, and sprinkle with salt to taste. Be sure to let the oil return to 350 degrees between batches.

Place the fried potatoes on a serving dish and spoon the warm Cabrales sauce over them. Sprinkle the remaining 2 ounces of crumbled Cabrales over the potatoes and garnish with chives.

Photograph by Pablo de Loy