In the world of taquerias there are potato tacos (tacos de papa) and then there are potato tacos. And if you’ve never had one, it’s exactly what you think: tender chunks of potatoes are cooked with onions and spices and nestled inside a corn tortilla and topped with shredded lettuce and salsa.
And sometimes they’re mashed and tucked inside a corn or flour tortilla and doused with Mexican crema and again, topped with lettuce, cabbage, salsa or pico de gallo.
And then there’s the Casa de Matt variety: a type that forsakes all pomp and circumstance and distills it down to the bare essentials. And it’s not very pretty.
When I cook at home I try my best to incorporate some type of quasi-balance. I like some freshness with my fried, some raw with my baked, some greens with the browns. But when I make this recipe I throw any type of balance out of the window and over the years it has become my guilty pleasure. Let’s take a look.
Mashed potatoes are seasoned with salt, pepper, copious amounts of sour cream, sometimes shredded cheese (almost any type I have!) and spread inside a pliable corn tortilla. These tacos are then fried in oil until crispy, drained on a paper towel so that I may kid myself that I’m removing some oil, and then doused — DOUSED — in hot sauce with a few pickled jalapeños on the side.
Could I add something fresh, say radishes or shredded cabbage? I could. But I don’t.
This is soul food, the crunchy greasy kind that tastes oh so good but is best enjoyed sporadically. Or when you find yourself with a giant mound of leftover mashed potatoes.
Matt’s Stripped Down Potato Tacos
These are all very basic approximations as I don’t think I’ve ever written it down. But it’s not hard to figure out.
Mashed potatoes, feel free to add additional seasoning or shredded cheese or a few spoonfuls of sour cream
Oil for frying
1. Spread one or two tablespoons of the mashed potatoes onto half of a corn tortilla. Fold over to form a taco. Repeat, depending on how hungry you are.
2. Once formed, carefully place the tacos into hot oil. You want enough to slightly cover the taco but you won’t need to get crazy with a deep fryer. I suppose you could, though.
3. Fry until golden then use tongs to remove the tacos. Drain on paper towels and let cool slightly so you don’t burn your face off. Top with hot sauce.