Mashed Potato Tacos!
By Dennis Linden
Here’s a deliciously simple recipe that is a favorite high-energy dish of Anthony Bruce, a member of the Melissa’s Sales Team. The recipe was inspired by Anthony’s mother-in-law who taught many traditional Mexican dishes to her daughter Daniela, who now enjoys adding her own modern/healthier twists to her mom’s recipes. For Anthony, these potato tacos fit right into his training regime.
“Potatoes are a great source of long lasting carbs, so this meal is great before upcoming long bike rides or runs,” said Anthony, then explained. “I enjoy competing in triathlons, so swimming, biking, and running take most of my free time. However, recently I really focused more on running as one of my personal goals is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. However, one does not have to be an athlete to enjoy these tacos, we find them easy to prepare and pack for a family picnic outing to a park or the beach!”
The other jewel of Anthony’s recipe submission is his -- or more probably Daniela’s? – accompanying Salsa Verde. Again, like the potato taco itself, the sauce is a very simple construct of tomatillos and two varieties of chile peppers being simmered to soften, then pureed; finished off with a little diced onion, cilantro, s & p to taste. Deceivingly simple with a rich, full-bodied flavor that is beyond compare to anything found on a retail shelf! I should note that the thickness of the salsa can be adjusted with a little water. Though Anthony’s recipe calls for a half of a cup to be added to the blender, I preferred a thicker sauce, so instead I helped the cooking down of the tomatillos with just a few TBS of water and left it at that as the tomatillos have plenty of natural juices. Be it thick or thin, I suggest doubling up on the measures for this one to keep handy in the ‘frig for other dishes. I did and have! BTW, Melissa’s Roasted Jalapeños definitely add something special to the flavor of this delicious sauce.
The taco filling is made even easier by using Melissa’s pre-cooked Parisienne Potatoes, which eliminates some 45 minutes of cooking time. Since these potatoes can be used right out of the package, a quick mashing with a fork or hand masher gets a bowl of mashed potatoes accomplished in just a few minutes. Then add in the cotija cheese and blend thoroughly. The potatoes do not have to be mashed into creamy smoothness; in fact, the skins on the Parisienne potatoes adds some texture to the filling. Full disclosure: Anthony’s original recipe called for sealing each tortilla with a toothpick to hold it together during the frying process. Admittedly, I went through almost a dozen toothpick-torn tortillas before I decided to try gently pressing the potato mix between the two sides of the taco and immediately popping the tortilla into hot oil fry and then held down the up-side of the taco with a spatula for a few seconds. If you can figure out how to spear each tortilla with a toothpick without damage, go for it; this culinary process totally eluded me!
As an integral member of Melissa’s Sales team for ten years, Anthony wears many hats by his own admission. Working with several different kinds of accounts across the country, Anthony says no two days at the office are ever alike.
“It is so interesting to work with people in so many different regions of the country – Texas, St. Louis, New York – just to name a few; all operating different kinds of retail venues. I also actually enjoy working with numbers, interpreting spread sheets and analyzing reports. We offer such a different and wide variety of items that it makes my days always exciting. Melissa’s has a reputation as a market innovator, so it’s just plain fun to be part of the first in the marketplace with new products, which is happening all the time around here! I also enjoy getting out from behind the sales desk to attend store events locally where our products can be seen in real-time context and not just as commodities—plus it’s fun and always educational to talk to consumers firsthand.”
Besides training for self-propelled marathons, Anthony also enjoys higher speeds on two wheels. When he was younger it was racing dirt bikes; today his weekend passion is cruising on his Harley. Anthony and Daniela have two “high energy” kids, 3-year-old daughter Brooklyn and two-year-old son Dash. At these active ages, Anthony says that the couple are definitely kept very busy visiting the numerous theme parks in Southern California on weekends! Brooklyn & Dash…sounds like the makings of a sister-brother TV cop show, Anthony, so be sure you take them to Universal Studios! The couple also make it a point to take time for themselves as they both enjoy discovering unique and trendy eateries in the area with a special focus on the restaurant’s dessert tray offerings! After all, Anthony claimed in defense, these times call for specialization! But high-calorie desserts? Now we understand why Anthony runs!
Makes 10 tacos
Salsa Verde Ingredients:
10 ea. Tomatillos Milperos, rough chopped (option: regular Tomatillos)
2 Serrano peppers, chopped
1 Melissa's Roasted Jalapeño, chopped
½ cup water
¼ white onion, diced
3 TBS Cilantro, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 pkg Parisienne Potatoes
½ cup Cotija Cheese, shredded (note: this variety crumbles rather than shreds)
S & P to taste
Simmer tomatillos and peppers with a little the water in a sauce pan until they are soft and cooked down just a bit. Then transfer this mixture into a blender and puree for 2 minutes. Pour puree into a serving container, add in the diced onion, cilantro, s & p to taste. Set aside for plating.
Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and mash until smooth with a masher or fork, then blend in the cheese, salt and pepper.
Spoon filling onto one half of a small corn tortilla, fold over and gently press together, (or seal with toothpick), then fry in vegetable oil on high heat until crispy.
Serve on a platter with a bowl of salsa on the side for dipping. Anthony also suggests providing shredded lettuce and sour cream, taco bar style, so everyone can personalize to their liking.