By MANDA HUDAK for the Flathead Beacon
“Deconstruction,” in the culinary world, is simply reformatting a dish by placing ingredients in a different way that brings the same complementary flavors together for an unconventional outcome. “Upcycling” is the new “it” term for improvising by using items differently than their original purpose. Either way, traditional ingredients have endless combinations.
In this dish, I am reformatting the traditional Mexican potato taco, which in its classic form is a delicious hors d’oeuvre or appetizer. What could be better than mashed potatoes with chorizo and cheese fried in a corn tortilla with fresh salsa?
If you don’t want to go through the effort of stuffing, rolling and frying the tortillas, deconstructing the taco into this delicious alternative is a much faster way to enjoy the same flavors. You can upcycle your grilled flank steak or pork tenderloin and mashed potato leftovers in this same entrée format.
Whether you’re inspired by the speed of deconstruction or the utilization of upcycling, this dish is simply delicious.
4 Ea. Sprouted Corn Tortillas, cut into very thin strips
1/2 Cup Peanut, grapeseed or any high heat tolerant oil
- 2# Potatoes, Yukon Gold or red, peeled, cut into 1-2” cubes
- 2 oz. Butter
- 1/3 cup Milk or half & half
- To taste Salt
- To taste White pepper, freshly ground
- 1/8 tsp. Cumin, ground
- 5 cloves Garlic, roasted
- 8 oz. Tomatoes, Cherry, Quartered
- 1/4 cup Onion, Red, Sliced Thin
- 1/2 each Jalapeno, Whole (Can Be More If You Like It Hotter)
- 1/4 cup Cilantro, Chopped
- 1/2 tsp. Mint, Chopped
- 1 each Lime, Juice
- 1 tsp. Olive Oil
- 1# Chorizo, Crumbled
- 3 oz. Cheddar Cheese, Shredded <Or> Cotija Cheese
- 1 each Avocado, Small Dice
- 3 each Scallions, Thinly Sliced On Bias
- Cut ends off garlic bulb. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in 350F oven until tender.
- Cut jalapeno in half and place on aluminum foil in oven until tender and lightly brown (can also grill on open flame). Remove and cool to room temp. Remove white flesh and seeds. Mince and add to salsa.
- Combine salsa ingredients and set aside to blend flavors.
- Heat peanut oil until it begins to shimmer in pan. Add tortilla strips and cook until crispy – be careful not to overcook as they brown quickly. Remove and drain on paper towels.
- Add potatoes to cold water. Bring to boil and lower temperature to simmer until potatoes are tender.
- While potatoes are cooking, cook chorizo in medium hot pan. Strain meat from fat. Set aside.
- Drain and place potatoes on a sheet pan and dry for three to five minutes in a 300F oven.
- Put potatoes in bowl and mash with roasted garlic cloves to soften. Add butter and milk to reach light fluffy texture. Season to taste. Set aside to keep warm.
- Plating: Put large spoon of potato on plate and top with cheese, meat, tortilla strips and garnish with salsa, avocado and scallion. Serve with wedge of lime on the side.
Manda Hudak is the Savory Chef Instructor at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com