This month’s Food ‘n Flix movie, hosted by Katharina at Pretty Cake Machine, is both one of my favorite films of all time as well as somewhat eerily timed. Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark, dreamy fairytale layered over a bleak period of fascism. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful, an invitation to retreat into fantasy when the world becomes too cruel, but also a reminder to return to reality and fight for those weaker than us, no matter the cost.
My dish is a version of the Spanish classic Patatas Bravas, inspired by the potatoes we see the servant Mercedes slicing multiple times in the movie (and the subsequent cleaning of Chekhov’s knife on her skirt). Instead of the traditional tomato sauce, I made a spicy red pepper sauce, as we see red peppers at one point during the film. A small shadow of the fantasy world makes it’s way into the dish with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses from the iconic Pale Man’s feast.
Roasted Red Pepper and Pomegranate Patatas Bravas
For the potatoes
- 1.5 pounds potatoes (I used red), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- olive oil and sea salt for roasting
Heat oven to 400° and place potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and sea salt and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning every 10, until potatoes are golden and easily pierced with a fork. You can turn off the oven and leave them inside to warm while you finish the sauce. When ready, move to a dish.
For the spicy red pepper sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 red peppers, roasted (broil, turning, until blackened, cover in a bowl to steam, then peel and deseed)
Meanwhile, heat olive oil on medium high and saute onion until translucent. Add chopped garlic and saute for a minute or so. Add salt, paprika, ground coriander, cayenne, and almonds, and cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant and almonds are slightly toasted. Add white wine and cook until liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and puree with the water and the red peppers. Return to heat and gently heat through.
Pour over warm potatoes.
For the garnish
- pomegranate molasses (storebought, or made by reducing pomegranate juice to about 1/3 of the beginning volume)
- chopped parsley
Drizzle pomegranate molasses and mayonnaise over potatoes, sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve hot.
Previous Pan’s Labyrinth-inspired dish: Sugared Grapes
Also, you can hear me and my cohost Diana discuss Pan’s Labyrinth at length on our podcast, Fiction Kitchen.