Carl Cooks: DIY Mashed Potato Soft Tacos
You don't know Jack but you might know Sam. Sam definitely knows the drill and his way around a kitchen. That is, Sam Zien, aka Sam The Cooking Guy from San Diego, California. Sam is just a regular guy who loves to share his culinary vision on camera and just happens to have amassed twelve Emmys under his belt by making videos right in his own kitchen. Sam The Cooking Guy has hit a nerve by making "cooking casually understandable." His secret recipe is using regular ingredients, easy-to-follow steps and a great sense of humor. Sam's simple approach to cooking is now on several networks and stations.
Most of Sam's creations are made from stuff already in your pantry and you slap yourself on the head that you didn't think to combine them. But that's the point. He helps stir your imagination and your sauce pan at the same time. I recently ordered three copies of one of his cookbooks for my most kitchen challenged friends. There is just no arguing with his common sense and very funny side bars. Even his recipe titles are part of the entertainment like a topping he calls "The Easiest Thing You Could Ever Do to a Fruit Salad." Or how about "Brussels Sprouts You'll Actually Eat" from one of his three cookbooks called "just a bunch of recipes"?
Sam had me from his table of contents and I knew we were on the same page when I saw his recipe for Mashed Potato Tacos. I am all about unprecedented combinations in cooking. I love mashed potatoes and I love tacos so the pairing was not only logical, but pure genius as far as I was concerned. One of Sam's strengths is creating tasty meals from leftovers. He suggests adding a little blue cheese to last night's mash to kick it up and I completely agree. My version of the recipe here assumes you don't have any leftover mashed potatoes so it also includes a little tutorial on making the basic mash. So let's get started.
WHAT YOU NEED:
Mashed Potatoes (enough for loading into as many tacos as you want to make)
Sour Cream (enough to smear the lining of each taco)
Blue Cheese crumbles
Green Onions (one bunch)
Extra Crunchy Potato Chips
WHERE TO START:
Peel and quarter the potatoes
Place potato chunks in cold water
Bring to boil and add a glob of salt
Cook until a fork penetrates them easily
Mash the potatoes by hand or put through a potato ricer (see photo)
For lump-less mashed potatoes use a food mill or a potato ricer shown here:
After ricing the cooked potatoes they will whip easily into a creamy mash. As you whip them with a fork they can get richer tasting with the addition of a little butter and milk. S&P to taste.
Of course you can always use a standard potato masher too. The ricer is just a great little gadget I happened to have on hand.
If you are going to add the blue cheese crumbles, do it now while the potatoes are still hot.
HOW TO FINISH:
Finely slice the green onions
Smash potato chips into small bits for topping
Dampen tortillas with water
Brown both sides of tortillas on very hot griddle or pan
Fold in half to create a taco shell
Keep turning tortillas until they have just browned the right amount.
The hot tortillas will be very pliable and easy to fold into a perfect pouch.
Make sure to have your green onions finely sliced and potato chips crushed before assembly time so the layer of mashed potatoes stays hot for stuffing.
Smear the shell with sour cream and a big slather of the mash. Top with a sprinkle of the onions, handful of crushed chips and as much hot sauce as you like.
This bite is loaded with surprise flavors like the sharp blue cheese, fresh green onions, salty chips, and tangy hot sauce. There's a great temperature contrast between the hot mash and the cool sour cream. The texture contrast between the creamy mashed potatoes, semi-crispy shells and totally crunchy chips is a real delight. It's a super simple dish but has some fairly complex things going on inside.
And now there is obviously only one more thing to do with this handful. Last night's leftover spuds meets today's quick Mexican lunch! It is vegetarian and if you skip the blue cheese and sour cream, it remains tasty but goes quickly to vegan. Big thanks to Sam The Cooking Guy for this inspired twist on tacos.
For more recipes by Carl CLICK HERE to visit his Food and Wedding Blog and be sure to click on "Older Posts" at the bottom of each post to view the next recipe.