Oh wow, were these terrific! I served them as a side to the chipotle chicken I just posted but they would also be delicious served as a wonderful vegetarian appetizer with my infamous margaritas! It's time for a fiesta, Sí o no?? Sí, the answer is always Sí, around here anyway!
I didn't have whole ancho chiles to toast and grind but had pre-ground ancho powder so I toasted that in a dry skillet and then added salt to taste. It worked great! I also added some cilantro to the guacamole and that was very nice as well. Enjoy!
Latkes with Ancho-Chile Salt and Watercress Guacamole
Bon Appétit; December 2009
For a nutty flavor, toast the masa in a small skillet until golden.
2 large dried ancho chiles*
1 3/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, diced
2 cups chopped white onions, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 large egg
1 tablespoon masa (corn tortilla mix),** toasted, or plain all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
Fresh watercress sprigs
Toast chiles in small skillet over medium heat until darker and aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Cut in half with scissors. Stem, seed, and tear chiles; grind finely with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in spice mill.
Drape smooth kitchen towel over large bowl. Blend potatoes and 1 cup onions in processor until potatoes are very finely ground, scraping down bowl often. Scrape mixture into towel. Gather towel around tightly and squeeze out at least 1 cup liquid.
Scrape dry potato mixture from towel into another large bowl. Add cilantro, egg, masa, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1 cup onions. Stir until mixture becomes moist and sticks together.
Heat 6 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. For each latke, drop 1 rounded tablespoonful potato mixture into skillet; flatten to 2 1/2-inch round. Fry latkes until golden brown, adding oil as needed, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 400°F oven until crisp, about 5 minutes per side.
Arrange 3 latkes on each plate; sprinkle with chile salt. Spoon Watercress Guacamole into center. Garnish with watercress sprigs.
* Available at many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Latin markets.
** Also known as masa harina; available at many supermarkets and at Latin markets.