Patacones are usually made with fried green plantain. They’re Latin America’s answer to bruschetta, but made with veg instead of bread. I tried to anglicise them recently using turnip, which wasn’t exactly a disaster but you’ll notice that I didn’t write it up. However, this version with sweet potato and tomato salsa works a treat. There are huge sweet potatoes in The Market Garden at the moment which are perfect, and they also have very large beef tomatoes which are a good flavour for the salsa. If you decide to use the more traditional green plantain instead of sweet potato, make sure that you flatten and dry the slices thoroughly between the boiling and the frying stage. Serve them as a starter or a snack.
For 4 people:
2 large sweet potatoes scrubbed well and cut into rounds about 2 cm thick. Discard the pointy ends of the potatoes.
1 very large beef tomato or 2 medium ones.
half a medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 small red chilli
handful of chopped coriander leaf
juice of half a lime
salt and pepper
Boil the sweet potato slices in water for about 7 minutes. They should still be quite firm. Remove them with a fish slice and place them in a single layer on kitchen paper or a clean teatowel. Place kitchen paper on top of them and pat them dry, pressing quite firmly as you do so. Leave them on the paper or cloth to dry out even more while you make the salsa.
Chop all the salsa ingredients very, very finely and put them in a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over this and mix it all up. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Leave to stand for a few minutes as you return to the sweet potatoes….
Heat a generous amount of olive oil or corn oil in a large frying pan until it’s smoking. The bottom of the pan should be completely covered with oil. Turn the heat down very slightly and fry the sweet potato slices for about 4 minutes on each side. You might need to fry them in batches and top up the oil between batches. Turn them gently with your fish slice because you want them to stay intact. It’s fine to caramelise the edges a little. (In fact, someone around here thinks they taste even better that way, so I tried to pretend it wasn’t a mistake).
Lift the fried slices out of the pan, drain off any excess oil (or place them briefly on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil) then transfer to plates and pile salsa on the top. 2 or 3 slices per person is a good amount for a side dish or starter.
You can also serve them with Legendary Guacamole which was Essex Road Recipe card number 30 and is here: