The Super Bowl may have lost some of its luster without a California team to root for. So why not beef up your Super Bowl party menu with a good old-fashioned hearty potato.
Yes, on one of the biggest cooking days of the year, celebrate it with spuds.
Fresno-area chefs and foodies are big fans of the tater, saying it makes a perfect party food. They are flavorful, filling and easy to work with. They also are readily available at Valley farmers markets and grocery stores.
"It is like comfort food," says Nancy Vajretti, head chef and founder of Love and Garlic Inc., a Fresno catering company. "And they are so versatile, you can do lots of things with potatoes."
The chefs at Love and Garlic put a Mexican twist on their version of potato skins. They spiced up their skins with enchilada sauce, roasted jalapeños and queso fresco.
Although Love and Garlic's spin on potato skins uses roasted turkey in the filing, you can easily substitute beef, chicken, sausage, chorizo or vegetables.
"If you want to make them vegetarian you can use diced zucchini, peppers, grilled corn and olives," Vajretti says. "Either way, you will get a mouthful of flavor."
Vajretti, who always is looking for new and interesting ways to present food, nicknamed the dish: Skinchiladas.
"It's fun to have an eclectic group of hors d'oeuvres at a Super Bowl party," she says. "It is like bar food, it's tasty and goes great with beer."
Dustin Stewart, chef and owner of Dusty Buns Bistro in Fresno, offers his recipe for the restaurant's well known Bistro Fries thick chunks of fingerling potatoes sautéed in olive oil and seasoned to perfection. Dunk them in your favorite dip, or just gobble them down as is.
Stewart likes to use Russian Banana fingerling potatoes grown in Tehachipi because of their sturdy texture and buttery flavor.
Also adding a new twist to taters are the chefs at Trelio Restaurant in Clovis. Chris Shackelford uses russet, yellow and red potatoes in recipes for everything from crunchy potato lollipops to a cheesy potato cake. The cakes are a great accompaniment to grilled steaks and barbecue meats.
T&D Willey farms in Madera is well known for its potatoes Yukon Gold and developing ways to use them. From its vast recipe files T & D Willey farms suggested making a blue cheese potato salad for your Super Bowl party.
It's a comforting mix of flavors and texture to satisfy your appetite and make you look forward to a better season next year.
Makes 32 potato skins
16 medium size russet potatoes
1 cup diced onion, 1/2 red, 1/2 yellow onions
1/4 cup chopped garlic
2 pounds diced roasted turkey, or other meat of your choosing
6 tomatoes seasoned w/olive oil, California chili or taco seasoning, salt, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon California chili seasoning or taco seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup diced fire roasted jalapeños, or regular jalapeños
1/4 cup diced fire roasted red bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup chopped black olives (reserved 1/8 cup for garnish)
1 package (40-ounce) queso fresco, crumbled, medium size pieces
1/2 cup enchilada sauce*
*For the sauce
1 can Las Palmas enchilada sauce
1/8 cup California Chili powder
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/8 cup olive oil
For the toppings and garnishes
1/2 pound shredded jack or mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 cup chopped black olives
1/8 cup green onions
1/2 cup diced avocado
For potato skins, cut the uncooked potato in half, using a metal ice cream scoop, carve out the center. Reserve potatoes in cold water.
Place a cookie rack inside a roasting pan and add water until it is slightly below the rack. Place the carved russets on the cookie rack carved side up. Heat oven to 350 degrees and cover the roasting pan with foil. Steam potatoes for 10 minutes. Check by inserting a skewer into the potato: They should be firm but cooked. Reserve in the pan, off the heat.
The filling is prepared in two steps. First the ingredients to sauté; then the ingredients to add to the sauté.
For the sauté, in a large skillet over a medium flame, add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Sauté for a minute and add the turkey, seasonings. Sauté until the turkey is golden and well combined with the ingredients. Sprinkle the turkey with one tablespoon flour; stir to combine scraping the juices and scrapings on the bottom of the pan. Add the coarsely chopped tomatoes. Cook until the juices are combined. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Reserve, cooled.
Place the sautéed ingredients in a large pan or bowl and add diced peppers, green onion, cheese, sauce. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning.
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan, add the flour and chili powder and sauté until combined and a roux forms. Add the can of enchilada sauce, stir, simmer. The sauce will thicken and flavors combine. Cool. Reserve 1/4 cup for the filling and use the rest for garnishing.
To fill the potato skins, mound filling into the skins. Place side by side on a cookie sheet. Top with shredded white cheese, cheddar cheese and olives. Drizzle lines of sauce over the potatoes.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
Serve garnished with sour cream, green onion and diced avocado.
Dusty Buns bistro fries
Makes 15-20 servings
5 pounds potatoes
Water to boil
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sea salt
Salt water for boiling potatoes until you can taste the salt. Drop potatoes in cold salted water and bring to a boil.
Cook potatoes 90% or until they are tender enough to be cut by a butter knife. Shock potatoes in ice water so they quickly stop cooking.
Slice lengthwise in half.
Preheat cast iron or sautéed pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Place potatoes in pan with sliced side down. Pan must be hot enough to hear sizzle.
Sear 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Toss potatoes in sea salt to taste.
Makes 24 pieces
14 small yellow or red potatoes (a little larger than a golf ball size)
1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil (Enzo or Bari)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely diced cornichons
1 tablespoon finely diced radish
1 tablespoon finely diced shallot
1 teaspoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes in a small bowl with olive oil and 1/2 of the salt. Toss to coat and place on a baking sheet for 40 to 45 minutes until easily pierced to the middle with a pairing knife. Let cool to the touch, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Cut each potato lengthwise in half. Using a melon baller remove the potato pulp out of each potato leaving the shell intact (about 1/8th-of-an- inch thick).
Place the shells back on the tray with hollow side up and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Place the potato pulp into a mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise and the rest of the ingredients including the other half of salt. Fold ingredients together carefully until well combined. Do not over mix or the potato mixture will become gluey.
Spoon potato mixture into potato shells and garnish with more paprika or dill sprigs.
Can be served warm, or chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
Fried potato lollipops with dijon aioli
Makes 20 skewers
5 large yellow or red skinned potatoes
2 quarts frying oil (canola, peanut or vegetable)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 garlic clove (roasted in oven for 10 minutes until soft and cooled)
Heat 2 quarts of fryer oil in a 4 quart pot on the stove until it reaches 350 degrees. Reduce heat to keep temperature stable. Cut potatoes into rounds or wedges and place on a 3-inch skewer.
Fry the potato skewers in the oil a few at a time for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly golden brown and cooked through. Drain on a paper towel. Place skewers on a plate and drizzle the aioli liberally over the top of the potatoes.
For the aioli, combine the lemon juice, mustard and egg yolks in a bowl. Place garlic clove and sea salt on a cutting board and smash into a paste with the side of a chef's knife and add to the bowl. Whisk ingredients until well incorporated. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil at a time making sure to emulsify into the mixture completely before adding more. Continue until all of the oil is incorporated.
Stir in pepper and add more salt to taste.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Blue cheese potato salad
1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 jalapeño chile, finely minced
11/2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup diced celery
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Place potatoes in a pot large enough to accommodate them in a single layer. Cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add a heaping spoon of salt, cover and bring to a boil.
Uncover and simmer until tender, watch carefully to not overcook (skins should remain intact). Drain, pour onto a kitchen towel to dry.
When warm, but not hot, halve potatoes and cut each half into quarters, place in a salad bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Allow to sit about a half hour, taste and correct seasoning with additional minced jalapeño and/or salt. Serve at room temperature.
Potatoes chateau chinon
Makes 6-8 cakes
5 large russet potatoes, or other large potato
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all purpose floor
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
3/4 cup gruyer cheese finely grated
Canola oil or vegetable oil
Salt and white pepper
Peel and grate the potatoes on the smallest side of your grater. Spoon the potatoes into the center of a large kitchen towel and ring out all of the extra moisture. There should be roughly 2 cups of potato pulp remaining.
Empty the pulp into a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in eggs, flour, nutmeg and cheese until well combined.
Oil a large cast iron skillet with a tablespoon of oil and bring to high temperature. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of potato mixture to the pan and flatten into a small disk. Repeat for as many that will fit in your pan.
Cook until golden brown on each side, making sure to regulate the heat on your cook top so they do not burn. Drain potato cakes on a paper towel before serving.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6327, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FresnoBeeBob on Twitter. Love and Garlic Inc. Dusty Buns Trelio Trelio T & D Willey Trelio