Ever read a recipe and involuntarily go “OOOOOH”? That’s what I did as soon as I read the phrase “Sweet Potato and Manchego Tortilla with Coriander Mojo.” It had three ingredients I love: sweet potato, coriander, and cheese, and it introduced an opportunity to learn some things: 1) how to cook a tortilla, and 2) what exactly “mojo” means.
I found this recipe via Food52.com’s contest page, where the website regularly holds recipe contests centered around a selected theme. The theme for this particular contest was one-pan dishes, and since recipe testing is done on a volunteer basis (you are expected to submit notes about the experience), I jumped right in. The recipe creator for this dish, Cle-ann, is a Melbourne-based recipe developer and food stylist (who was kind enough to agree to let me write about her dish)!
I was born in California and raised primarily in Oregon before moving to Japan, so it is only up until embarrassingly recently that I have associated the word “tortilla” with anything but Mexican food. It was something that I’d been wanting to try, though, both for the delicious factor and for the opportunity to learn a new technique.
I got to try it out with satsuma imo, Japanese sweet potato, which I thought was particularly well-suited for this dish; it has a sweetness that isn’t saccharine, but it still maintains a nice, hearty quality. The recipe calls for the sweet potato to be cooked in oil on the stove, which I really enjoyed, but I’m very curious about what sort of results roasting might produce.
The recipe also includes smoked paprika, a spice I feel I’ve been seeing in recipes with increasing frequency this year. It was my first time to use this spice (at last). When applied to dishes I’m finding it gives a nice smoky depth without being overwhelming.
When I put together the mojo (which I learned is a name for a sauce typically based in coriander and garlic), I was quite startled; the cilantro and garlic are POWERFUL. I went ahead with the recipe as written, though, and was really pleased with the results. The dish comes together quite easily and quickly, and truly is a one-pan dish. For me, though, the red onion was the hero. There was something deeply, deeply satisfying about that particular flavor in this dish.
When all the cooking has finished, you top your tortilla with the coriander mojo and finish it with a bit more manchego cheese. This was my first time using manchego, and I can’t wait to go back to it. It’s semi-hard but has a bit of a mellowness to it that really balances well with the punch of that cilantro-garlic sauce.
I really enjoyed preparing and testing this dish. I found the recipe testing experience to be different from the typical “ehhh, I’ll more or less follow what’s written” approach I usually take with new dishes. I had a responsibility to the cook (I felt) to follow the recipe as closely as possible and to provide the most helpful feedback I could muster. I felt like I was babysitting another person’s idea, and I found that it made me much more careful, precise, and thoughtful throughout the entire process, from ingredient selection to putting these words on a (digital) page. It was a fantastic exercise in many ways, and one I look forward to repeating.
Cooking this recipe also allowed me to connect with Cle-ann, the person who wrote this dish. For more about her, I highly encourage a visit to her website. She has beautiful photos and a lot of really exciting-looking dishes! You can also find this sweet potato tortilla recipe on her site. In addition to writing recipes, she’s a food stylist, and has lovely photos up on her page and her Instagram. Of particular interest is the range of gluten-free recipes she has developed!
Thanks so much for the great dish, Cle-ann! It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to expand on these ideas with more dishes in the future. I hope lots of other people have a chance to give it a try too.