Smoked Potatoes Pair Well with Rioja

Try pairing a smoky Tempranillo with the hearty heat of this easy-to-make vegetable dish.

While the humble potato gets a gourmet upgrade in this recipe, the centerpiece is the Kewpie mayonnaise, a silky Japanese rice vinegar-based spread that has fast become the darling of new-school Western chefs. “We use Kewpie for its velvety, smooth texture,” says Matt McCallister, executive chef and owner of FT33 in Dallas’s Design District. “The creaminess, heat from the Sriracha and acidity of the mayo balance the smoke and heartiness of the vegetables. This is one side dish that can really stand on its own.” 

To Make the Potatoes and Mushrooms:

2 cups mixed fingerling potatoes
Salt, to taste
¼ cup cherry-wood chips, for smoker
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
4 heads of maitake mushrooms, each broken into 3 pieces
½ tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, for garnish

Place the fingerling potatoes in a 6-quart pot. Fill with water and season aggressively with salt. Bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes, or until you can pierce the potatoes with a fork without resistance. Remove the potatoes from the water and set aside. Add the cherry-wood chips to a smoker and ignite the chips. Next, place the potatoes in the smoker and smoke heavily for 8 minutes. 

Heat the grapeseed oil in a saucepan over high heat until lightly smoking. Sear the maitake mushroom pieces in the pan until they’re nicely caramelized. Add the potatoes to the pan and season with salt to taste, and then pour in the lemon juice. To finish, add the butter and minced chives to the pan. Remove the mixture from the heat and toss for a few turns. Pat down with a paper towel to remove excess oil before serving.  

To make the Chili-Kewpie Mayo:

¼ cup Kewpie mayonnaise (available at most Asian supermarkets)
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons sweet pimentón
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt, to taste

Combine the mayonnaise, Sriracha and sweet pimentón in a bowl and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste, and reserve for plating.

To finish:

Serve as shown, or space out dollops of the mayonnaise on each plate and arrange the mushrooms and potatoes around each dollop. Garnish with the oregano leaves. Serves 4. 

Wine Pairing

“We like to pair smoky, hearty Tempranillos with this dish,” says Ryan Tedder, sommelier and general manager at FT33. “For a local option, we really enjoy the Pedernales Cellars 2009 Tempranillo from Stonewall, Texas. [It] sings with this dish because it has big flavors without big tannins. For a Spanish option, we enjoy the Bodegas LAN 2005 Viña Lanciano Reserva Rioja for its brightness paired with its power.”

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