Roasted Potatoes with a Chili-Roasted Garlic-Pepita Sauce

I made these with Chimp in mind.

A large pile of potatoes makes him happy, especially if the pile also includes hot stuff. He seems to have a palate made of asbestos – he has little sense of smell, which is probably part of why he can tolerate such incendiary foods, since so much of taste is smell. When I make Breakfast Potatoes, he usually lashes them with the Pride of Pittsburgh, which hurts a little bit, because I think they taste great with just the vegetables and spices. Knowing that’s his druther, though, I thought potatoes tossed with a ground-chili sauce with a similar texture might go over well.

That said, these aren’t terribly hot. They’re made with California chilies; you could choose a hotter chili to up the heat quotient.

When his folks were here last weekend, we stopped at the Valley Pistachio Country Store for them to pick up unreasonable amounts of nuts to take back east with them. I got a bag of organic pistachios and a bag of pepitas. For some reason, the Whole Foods here doesn’t have pepitas (or flageolet beans, weirdly), and they’re a favorite of mine.

We got Red Bliss potatoes in our CSA box last week – a big bag of them, enough that I was a little alarmed. Uh oh, I thought. What if they send us this many potatoes every week? I can’t possibly eat this many potatoes every week.

Well, we did get potatoes again this week, but instead of being five pounds of Red Bliss, it was just a pound or two of Yukon Golds; three good-sized ones. I had a little laugh at myself while I was putting the contents of the box away. When I pulled out the bag with the three Yukon Gold potatoes, I thought, Thank goodness they didn’t give us another five pounds of potatoes! However, the part of me that has now bought six pounds of cherries two weeks in a row and for some unknown reason feels secure only when way too much food is purchased thought Only three?

It’s okay. Three will be plenty. Chimp had made a few of the Red Bliss into a fine Aloo Mater earlier in the week, using yogurt and the peas from the CSA box, and Friday night, while I was lying in bed, I thought about what to do with the remainder of them.

Ground chilies, I thought. Pepitas. New World potatoes – ingredients native to the Americas. Like patatas bravas, except roasted, and with chili sauce instead of tomato and chili sauce. Chimp would like that for breakfast.

Saturday morning, I got up at 5 a.m., thanks to my beloved tiny black shrill-voiced cat Mingus, who told me he was starving to death, having not been fed since Chimp gave him his late-night can at 2 a.m. (A vet once told us she thought Mingus was half-Siamese. We told her it was definitely the front half.)

When I came back from the farmers’ market, I started the potatoes – re-hydrating chilies, roasting garlic, chopping herbs, toasting spices. The finished dish was ready by the time Chimp got up, about 11:30. He served himself some, and I waited a minute to see what would happen.

Success – he didn’t reach for the ketchup.

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