Let Them Eat Potato Cakes (Making Tortitas de Papa)

A popular snack found at fondas and street food stalls throughout Mexico, potato cakes or tortitas de papa, are wonderful on their own – as any potato-based snack is – or gussied up with salsa on a plate. (Recipe below).

I played around with ingredients to arrive at the recipe below, based on what was on hand.
It’s by no means perfect. I see it as a springboard for future kitchen fun. You might like to do the same.
I whipped up a simple tomato sauce. One can of plum tomatoes whipped up in a blender with a small onion, reduced over medium high heat with some cilantro sprigs for flavour and chicken stock to bring it to the right consistency – not too thick, not too thin.
A green salsa for contrast came out of five jalapenos that had to be used up. Stems removed, chilies chopped and whizzed around in the blender with a small garlic clove, salt and enough water to get the blades moving around.

A simple yet kick ass salsa that brightens up the potato cake’s day.
Yukon Golds, peeled and boiled until soft. Drain well.
Mash the potatoes evenly. Add grated cheese – aged cheddar this time around – and lots of chopped cilantro. Add salt and freshly ground pepper.
Form into patties and place onto a wax paper lined tray. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
The cold patties are dipped in lightly beaten egg before being fried in vegetable oil. Cast iron skillets rock.

Plate and serve.
Tortitas de Papa (Potato Cakes) Yield 18 cakes@2 1/2″ diameter
2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 1/2 cups of finely grated aged white cheddar
1/2 cup cilantro, leaves only, chopped
2 eggs
freshly ground pepper
salt to taste
vegetable oil for frying
Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain well and mash the potatoes evenly. Add the grated cheese, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper and work in the ingredients into the mashed potato well.
Form into patties about 2 1/2 ” diameter. You should have about 18 cakes total. Place them onto a wax paper lined baking sheet.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
In a bowl, beat the eggs slightly.
Heat two cast iron skillets over medium high heat. Add oil.
Dip each potato cake into the egg mixture, coating each side evenly and lightly. Let any excess drip away.
Fry on both sides until beautiful and brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest of the cakes.
To plate: Lay down some tomato sauce. Add the cakes in the middle. Top with salsa and have extra at the table for those who like heat.
P.S. any leftovers are great eaten cold, and that classic standby, chipotle mayonnaise, also pairs nicely with the potato cakes. Just pass on the tomato sauce.

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