My much loved friend Raquel and her dearly departed mom have taught me a lot over the years. Although I didn't get to spend too much time with Raquel's mom the time I did we were usually cooking and eating. Raquel has been a vegetarian for years and so her mom had all sorts of Mexican vegetarian dishes that she liked to prepare for her Raquel and her friends. One of my favorites were her potato tacos.
I'd never heard of these until I met Raquel when we were both working in Yosemite National Park. I don't think that we ever made these there -- although we were always cooking something good -- but her mom made them for us when we visited Raquel's family in nearby Vacaville. I've since made them with Raquel in San Francisco (she used to work here) where she lives and in Portland when she visits. I was missing Raquel the other day so I decided to make them on my own. Although they didn't have the most special ingredients -- Raquel and her mom -- they were still delicious.
I don't usually put recipes up here but this one is so good and easy to translate that I'm going to. Without further ado...
Quarter and boil your potatoes until they're mashed potato soft -- usually about 30 minutes. I've used blue and red potatoes for these but the best are good old russets in my opinion. You can leave the jackets on or peel them -- I usually peel about 2/3 and leave the rest on for bite and flavor.
While the potatoes are boiling chop onions and cilantro, mince garlic, grate a little cheese -- whatever you have on hand, juice a couple limes and prepare your taco fixings. I usually put sour cream, salsa, grated cheese and tomatoes in mine but I use whatever is good and fresh.
When the potatoes are done cooking drain and mash them. I mash them by hand so that some small chunks remain to give the tacos some bite and structure. Mix in the onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, a bit of cheese, salt, and some chile if you like. Get creative with this part if you want but I like to keep it to these ingredients.
Put a few tablespoons of any veg. oil in the pan, peanut is really nice too, and turn it to medium-high. Lay out your corn tortillas and slap half of one side with the potato mix.
When the pan is up to temp. put the tacos in and fold them in half pushing them into the pan and putting a spoon or something on top if they try to flop open. Cook until golden brown on that side and then the other. Remove onto paper towel, fill and eat!