Papas en Escabeche (Potatoes in Vinaigrette)


2 pounds small red or yellow potatoes, unpeeled
1 pound calabacitas or zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 serrano or jalapeño chile
1 large yellow or red onion
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed whole
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
3-4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white vinegar


Cut the serrano or jalapeño chile lengthwise, remove the seeds, and then cut widthwise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Peel and cut the onion lengthwise and then cut each half into 1/4-inch slices. In a large bowl, combine the chile, onion, cumin seed (crush partially by rolling them firmly between your fingers), garlic cloves, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, lime or lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar and toss well. Gently drop the potatoes into the boiling water and cover partially. Simmer for 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender yet hold their shape. Add the calabacitas or zucchini and boil, uncovered, for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain well, reserving 1/3 cup of the water.

Transfer the vegetables to the bowl that contains the onion, chile, garlic, and the rest of the spices. Toss well. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pour in the 1/3 cup of reserved water. Toss again and then transfer the potato salad to a large casserole dish or glass jar. Seal tightly and refrigerate for 2 or more days before serving. Makes 5 to 6 servings.