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Crispy Potato Sopes (Masa Boats) with Salsa, Goat Cheese, and Herbs Recipe

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Recipe by Rick Bayless from the book "Mexico One Plate at a Time." The salsa on the crispy, golden sope produces bona fide Mexican flavor. A different type of appetizer that your guests will appreciate.

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium (about 8 ounces) baking potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) fresh smooth-ground corn masa for tortillas OR 1 cup powdered masa harina mixed with 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs warm water.
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2" for frying
  • 1 1/2 About 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 2 generous cups loosely packed torn herb leaves (watercress, arugula, mizuna, basil)
  • 1/2 About 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Details

Servings 18

Preparation

Step 1

The dough for the Sopes:
In a medium pan, boil the potatoes in salted water to cover until thoroughly tender, about 25 minutes.
Drain and cool.
Push the potatoes through a ricer or medium-mesh strainer into a bowl. Scrape the potatoes into a measuring cup.
Discard about 1 cup of the potatoes, return 1 cup to the bowl and knead in the masa (fresh or reconstituted) and ¾ teaspoon salt.
The dough should be the consistency of soft cookie dough.

Forming and baking the sopes:
Heat a well-seasoned or nonstick griddle or heavy skillet over medium. Divide the dough into 18 portions, roll into balls and cover with plastic to keep them from drying out.
One by one, form the fat little tortillas that will become the sopes: cut two squares of plastic (to be on the safe side, cut them from a food storage bag, the thicker plastic works better).
With your hands, gently flatten a ball of dough between the sheets of plastic to about 2 ½ inches in diameter (it should be about 1/4” thick). Peel off the top sheet of plastic.
Use your thumb and index finger to push up the dough into a border about ½” high around the edge to form the sope, the little boat.
Flip the sope—uncovered side down—onto the fingers of one hand, then gently peel off the second piece of plastic. Now, flip the sope over onto the griddle or skillet, flat side down. After about a minute, when the sope has loosened itself from the cooking surface, remove it from the griddle. This cooking is just to set the bottom surface, not to cook the masa all the way through.
While the first sope is cooking, continue shaping and adding others to the griddle or skillet. After cooking, to keep them from puffing oddly during frying, prick the bottoms of each one with a fork, being careful not to go all the way through.
Cool, then cover the sopes with plastic to keep them from drying out.

Finishing the sopes:
In a deep heavy medium skillet or saucepan, heat ½” of oil to 350 degrees (if you do not have a thermometer you can judge the temperature by dipping the side of a sope in the oil—if it sizzles vigorously, it’s ready).
Stir in the balsamic vinegar (if using) into the salsa and set out the herbs and crumbled cheese.
A few at a time, fry the sopes until they are a rich golden brown, about a minute.
Drain them upside down on paper towels, then keep them warm in the oven.
When all the sopes are done, arrange them on a serving platter.
Spoon about ½ Tbs of salsa onto each one, top with herbs and sprinkle generously with cheese.

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