i feel like a really big asshole about the fact that until about a month ago, the only thing i knew about libya i learned from back to the future. ummmmmmm. which is to say that i knew nothing.
but then when mum visited she brought me that new nifty exotic spice situation from trader joe's which has a spice blend in it called pilpelchuma, and it is libyan! so i did some research and learned from janna that it is typical in libyan jewish cuisine. and it was the first i had ever heard about libyan jews, so i did a little more research and it turns out they're in rome and israel now. (hi from tuscany, by the way! speaking of italy...)
pilpelchuma translates to "pepper garlic" and it usually consists of hot peppers, caraway, cumin, and garlic, making it pretty similar to harissa. except omg ottolenghi's pilpelchuma calls for 20 garlic cloves, compared with harissa's 3. dannnng.
i began my pilpelchuma journey by sprinkling it onto scrambled eggs, ever so daintily for fear that it would be way too spicy, but the trader joe's one is really quite manageable for my wimpy tastebuds. so then i went straight to mixing it with mayo because all good things in life involve mayo.
pilpelchuma mayo is so good: it brings me back to being severely drunk at lucky burger on the lower east side, eating all of the french fries and chipotle mayo that my college self desired. dammit, why do i keep this stuff on my blog. is it gonna get me in trouble one day?
so drawing on my chipotle mayo/french fry memory, i roasted some of the potatoes from our garden (we grew potatoes this year! so dirty but so fun!) and made a potato salad so that i could strengthen my identity as an upper midwesterner. and of course when you call it a "salad" you have every right to eat it for dinner even if it is just cut up oven fries covered in mayo. i topped mine with micro greens too because i've been growing micro greens* and i suddenly feel less terrible about killing all of my basil.
pilpelchuma roasted potato salad with radish micro greens
makes 4 servings
lots of kosher salt
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tb unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c mayo
2 tb white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp pilpelchuma spice blend (this will make it kind of spicy. add 1 or 1 1/2 tsp if you want it on the milder side)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
a handful of micro greens
preheat the oven to 450ºf. line a baking sheet with parchment and set it aside.
bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil (i use about 3 tablespoons of salt), add the potatoes, and cook for 6 minutes. strain them and place them in an ice bath for 5 minutes. strain them, pat them dry, and then toss them with the melted butter. season them with salt and pepper, scatter them about your baking sheet and roast them for 45 minutes, tossing halfway through.
in a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, and pilpelchuma. (i use the same bowl for the ice bath, tossing the potatoes in butter, mixing the mayo, and for serving, and sometimes for eating, cause i'm lazy/resourceful/crunchy like that.) when the potatoes are done roasting, toss them in the mayo with the shallot. taste and adjust seasonings as desired. top with micro greens. enjoy!
*i'm growing these micro greens c/o the coolest company ever, green towers, which just started a grow-your-own micro greens subscription service. every month they send you planter trays and all you need to do is water them and within days you'll have micro greens!!! and your gardening self-esteem will have tripled. use the code "mynameisyeh" for 20% off your order!