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Papas Veracruz

Serves4
IngredientsPotatoes
Menu PartSide Dish
Cuisine TypeMexican
Papas Veracruz

Chef Unmi Abkin

Coco and the Cellar Bar

Easthampton, Mass.

French fry fans will appreciate this Mexican take on a tried-and true favorite. Crisp, golden-brown potatoes are tossed with salsa macha, a zesty blend of three types of chiles, peanuts, sesame seeds, Mexican oregano and plenty of garlic —and topped with silky lime crema, Cotija cheese, fresh herbs and sesame seeds. The lime crema offers contrast with its mellow flavor and smooth texture.

Ingredients

Salsa Macha

3½ cups canola oil
16 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup peanuts, roasted and salted
1⁄4 cup sesame seeds
1 tbsp. dried Mexican oregano
6 oz. dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and snipped

1 oz. dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded and snipped

½ oz. dried arbol chiles, stemmed, seeded and snipped
5 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
5 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. kosher salt

Lime Crema

1 tbsp. finely chopped shallots

3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 cup crème fraîche
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives

Grated zest from ½ lime

1 tsp. kosher salt

Papas Veracruz

2 tbsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking soda
3 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in. cubes
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup Salsa Matcha (recipe above)
½ cup Lime Crema (recipe above)
¼ cup crumbled Cotija cheese
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted

Steps

  1. For salsa macha, in large saucepan, heat oil and garlic over medium heat until garlic is golden, 6 to 8 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove garlic and set aside.
  2. To oil in saucepan, add peanuts, sesame seeds and oregano. Simmer over medium heat until sesame seeds are golden, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat; stir in all the chiles. Cover saucepan and leave chiles in oil for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir apple cider, sugar and salt into chile mixture. Cover saucepan let stand 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer mixture to high-powered blender. Add golden garlic; blend at high speed until very smooth and well incorporated. Transfer to covered container until ready to use.
  5. For crema, in small bowl, combine shallots and vinegar; let stand 30 minutes. Strain, reserving vinegar.
  6. In medium bowl, combine crème fraiche, chives, lime zest and salt. Stir in strained shallots and 2 teaspoons reserved vinegar. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Stir and taste, adding a pinch more salt or vinegar to taste.
  7. For potatoes, adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450 F. In large saucepot over high heat, heat 3 quarts water to boiling. Add kosher salt, baking soda and potatoes; stir to combine. Return to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and cook until potato cubes are barely tender, about 10 minutes. Drain carefully and transfer to sheet pan to cool.
  8. Toss cooled potatoes with canola oil, coating evenly. Transfer oiled potatoes to clean sheet pan and spread into one layer. Transfer to oven and roast 10 minutes. With thin, flexible metal spatula, release any suck potatoes and flip them over. Continue roasting 20 to 30 minutes until potatoes are golden brown and crisp,  turning and shaking a few times during cooking.
  9. Transfer cooked potatoes to large bowl. Add 1 cup Salsa Macha; toss to coat evenly. Divide potatoes into four shallow serving bowls; top each with Lime Crema, cotija cheese, cilantro, oregano and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Photo courtesy of Idaho Potato Commission

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