I first had potato tacos (Spanish: tacos de papa) at a small hole-in-the-wall taqueria in East Los Angeles. My first reaction was, "Potato taco?! Never heard of that!" but my friend insisted I try one. I took a bite and the savory deliciousness just exploded in my mouth. Since then, I've been looking for potato tacos, but you know what? They are hard to find. I haven't found them in San Francisco yet! So, I simply took matters into my own hands and learned to make my own.
These are really filling, and so flavorful that I don't like to put cheese or sour cream on them because I don't want to mask their deliciousness. This is a simple, humble taco that's the underdog of tacos. Taco Bell 'aint got nothing on this taco. If you're a cilantro hater, omit it and sprinkle a little ground cumin in the potato mix.
Potato Tacos Recipe
2 large red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 poblano chile peppers
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 ear white corn, stripped of kernels
2 scallions, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
10 fresh corn tortillas
Fresh cilantro, about 1/4 cup chopped
Fresh avocado, diced
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a skillet add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and add the potatoes and fry them until crispy and brown on the outside and cooked inside.
Meanwhile slice the poblano chiles in half, and while wearing gloves, remove the ribs and the seeds. Add the peppers cut-side down to a baking dish that has been lightly coated with olive oil and roast them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Chop them up and set aside.
When the potatoes finish cooking remove them to a plate lined with paper towels. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and cook the onions, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and corn. Add salt and pepper to taste, and juice the lime and add it to the skillet and cook on low for 5 minutes. Stir well.
Heat a large skillet or griddle and warm up the tortillas on each side, about 5 minutes per side. If you don't do this, they will have a hard, rubbery texture. Warming them helps to soften them.
To assemble the tacos, place some potato on the tortilla, some roasted poblanos, then the veg/lime mixture, and top with scallion, cilantro, and avocado.
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Originally published December 16, 2009.
(Image: Kathryn Hill)