"Rustico" Potatoes

by (gower)

 5 or 6 medium-size Russet (or other) potatoes, skins removed and cut into
 large-ish chunks

 5 or 6 large ancho chiles
 5 cloves garlic, skins on
 2 tablespoons or so Mexican oregano
 some fruity extra virgin olive oil
 sea salt
 boiling water

Preheat oven to 400. Set a kettle of water to boil. Cut up the potatoes and
put them in a large bowl. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the
anchos and the garlic until the chiles release their aroma with small
little wisps of smoke. Don't let them burn--that would make them terribly
bitter. Place them in a bowl, and cover them with boiling water. The garlic
will take slightly longer to toast. When the skins have blackened somewhat,
they're ready--remove them from the pan, take the burned skins off (they'll
slip right off) and set aside. 

Steep the anchos in the water for about five minutes, until soft. Remove
them, removing the stems and seeds in the process, and discarding them and
the water (it's too bitter to use for other things). Put the chile flesh in
the blender with the garlic and oregano. Add a large splash of olive oil.
Turn it on, and pour a steady stream of olive oil in, until the mixture
achieves a pesto-like thick consistency. Spoon the reddish-brown paste over
the potatoes, mixing it in and coating them thoroughly. Put them in a
baking pan, salt them thoroughly, and roast for about 30 or 40 minutes,
till done, till the edges are browned and crispy. Taste for salt. Goes well
with grilled fish and salsa, a green salad, and a glass of sauvignon blanc.

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