Shortly after the New Year I found myself having lunch alone while Isobel recovered from the flu. I heated up some cooked chicken and magical sick day soup for her while contemplating with greedy joy the food I could make just for myself. Meals alone are a wonderful thing wherein you only have the please and audience of one. With no one else around to moderate your tastes, the solo diner functions as judge, jury, and executioner. To put it plainly: you can eat whatever weird shit you like and no one else is the wiser.
Since the New Year had just come to pass I was thinking in less indulgent lines. Anthony and I had gained a few pounds over the holidays and it always takes us awhile to get back on track. I decided a happy medium between healthy and indulgent would be potato nachos.
First of all: yes, potato nachos are a thing. Potatoes feature prominently in Central American cuisine (it’s a New World plant, after all) and I’m sure I’m not the first person to make the leap from sour cream and chives to sour cream and salsa. The rest happened naturally. Maybe it’s the gringa in me but I’m always looking for excuses to cover things in sour cream, cheese and salsa. Think of this as the best tater tot of your life: the potatoes are roasted, smashed, and then roasted again so the outsides are crackly crisp and crunchy while the insides stay fluffy. You then coast these morsels with spicy veg, cool cream and sharp cheddar.
As long as you go easy on the sour cream and cheese this dish is decently healthy, potatoes and all. The key is is to stick to using small fingerling potatoes because you will get a much larger peel to flesh ratio out of the potato, and the skins themselves are what houses all the fiber and nutrients. We bought a bag of fingerlings from our warehouse store that features purple, gold and red potatoes. Using a variety ups the nutrition score further as you will get a wider variety of nutrients. As for the rest, pile on the salsa, green onions and bell pepper and you can practically count this as a salad.
- 4 fingerling potatoes, medium small
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh salsa
- 1 green onion, tops and bottoms, sliced
- cheddar cheese, about 1/4 cup
- sour cream, about 1 tbs
- cilantro, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- spray olive oil
– Poke some holes in the potatoes and roast for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. When 20 minutes are up, remove from oven and smash with a large spoon, potato masher, or meat mallet. Add salt and pepper, a very little bit of spray olive oil and return to the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
– While the potatoes are baking, slice and chop your onions and bell pepper and shred the cheese. When the potatoes are ready, top with bell peppers, then onions, then salsa, then more onions, then cheese and top with sour cream. Sprinkle on feathery bits of cilantro if you like and dive in.
– (Full disclaimer: I was out of cilantro so the herb you see in the photos is actually Italian parsley. It was good if lacking in the correct flavor.)