Potatoes scream comfort to me!
This potatoes recipe is inspired by one the movie Shaft, specifically one of my favorite scenes in a classic movie from the blaxploitation era. It’s an early love scene in the movie and the song “Ellie’s Love Theme” from the soundtrack plays. The title song from the soundtrack gets most of the attention, but “Ellie’s Love Theme” is a standout as well.In the scene, Shaft stressed out, but still cool as the other side of a pillow, explains his blues to his lady by saying “I got to feeling like a machine, and that ain’t no way to feel” after which she comforts him. I gotta remember to use this line at home!
Back in the day as a kid, my MaDear (grandmother) would make me potatoes whenever I had my own blues. I was the youngest kid in our neighborhood by far and perceived as the nerdiest as well. Not sure if it were the glasses, freckles, or my large pencil collection, but either way I was an embarrassment to my older brother given our familiy’s reputation for athletic prowess. Needless to say, the boys in the hood had had enough and determined that it was time for my intiation at age 5. “Initiation” was simple, I had to take a football and run from my neighbor’s driveway across our front yard to the end zone which was our driveway. Easy enough I thought, not knowing that my brother and all 5 of his boys weren’t standing in the yard as support, but instead were goons prepared to inflict high levels of pain on me and they were quite successful. Three attempts, same results, equal pain each time. At that point I decided enough was enough and with tears streaming, snot bubbles leaking, and a mix of grass and blood on my lip I went inside to my loving MaDear only to have her point me back outside as if to say, “I got no love for you hear today.”
Now I was really messed up, the emotional pain of losing that security blanket was greater than any physical pain I had just endured. As I picked my face off the ground and walked heavy footed back outside, I decided that somebody was gonna pay. Surprised to see me, the goons with all their cockiness got in formation. I took the ball, lined up and went Mel Gibson Braveheart style sprinting right into the teeth of the gauntlet. As I closed my eyes and braced for the misery, I was met with air as the gons parted and let me through. Unfortunately, since I wasn’t expecting it I lost my balance and face planted on the concrete driveway. Still ever prideful and feeling vindicated my entire disposition said eff off to those clowns as I spiked the ball and went back inside. Eager to please I went straight to the kitchen to show my battle wounds to my MaDear who just asked expressionless and in a matter of fact tone, “You want some taters?”
I had fried potatoes that had been cut scalloped style before frying. I topped them with my Pops’ (Grandfather) homemade ketchup. They were delicious and not only made me forget about the pain, but grounded me as well as reassured me that all was good in the world. I played football for years including college, and never lost the grit instilled in me by MaDear and the boys in the hood.
Pops always made his own condiments, as “sto bought shit too sweet” in his opinion. He was right! For these potatoes, I didn’t fry them nor did I use ketchup. The potatoes are roasted and paired with a chunky chili lime sauce, and though it contains some sugar, it ain’t “too sweet.”
Great beats, better eats. Enjoy
- 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tbsp cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 to 4 red Thai chilis, finely minced (de-seed if you prefer no heat)
- 2 tbsp finely minced cilantro
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Toss potatoes together with olive oil and salt.
- Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Mix all ingredinets well in a mixing bowl.
- Top potatoes with the sauce.