Friday, December 27, 2013

Smashed Potatoes

Last Year's Post:  Shrimp, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
Two Years Ago:   Tiny Pizzas (Finger Food)

Looking for a new and different appetizer for your next party?  Or maybe you're tired of the same old baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and french fries as a side dish.  The recipe will fit the bill either way.  Tiny potatoes are cooked twice - first boiled to make them tender, then smashed and roasted with olive oil.  The result is an irresistible treat that's crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  Serve it with your favorite dip and watch people dive in.

The technique is really easy and fun.  First you boil the potatoes, then take them out and put them on some towels.  You use another towel as cover to gently flatten them.  The first time I made this recipe I was pretty doubtful about the "gently flatten" part - I figured they'd turn into mush.  But they don't - they just kind of split and flatten.  The lawyer was so interested after watching me do a few, that he had to try it himself.

At this point you let the potatoes cool completely - you can even cover and refrigerate them so all you have to do later is roast them with olive oil until they're brown and crispy.  You could easily add some garlic or herbs while they roast to vary the taste.

They're excellent served up with flavored sour cream, cheese sauce,  chipotle sauce, chile sauce - whatever you like.  If you're having a party, I'd make a big batch and serve them with several sauces so people can try them all.

printable recipe
Smashed Potatoes
Serves 4-6 as a side dish or appetizer

12 to 15 baby red or yellow potatoes (1 ½ - 2 “ in diameter)
2 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ cup olive oil

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan (preferably in one layer) and cover with at least an inch of water.  Add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to the water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are completely tender and can easily be pierced with a skewer, 30-35 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, set up a double layer of clean dishtowels on the countertop.  When the potatoes are done, remove them individually from the water (don’t dump) and let them sit on the towels for a minute or two.

Fold another dishtowel into quarters, and using it as a cover, gently press down on one potato to flatten it to about ½” thick.  Repeat with the remaining potatoes.  Don’t worry some break apart a little; you can still use them.

Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; put a sheet of parchment on top of the foil.  Transfer the flattened potatoes carefully to the baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature.

Note:  the potatoes may be covered loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerated at this point to be roasted later.

Heat the oven to 450d.  Sprinkle the potatoes with the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and pour the olive oil over them.  Lift the potatoes gently with a spatula to make sure some of the oil goes underneath and that they’re well coated.  Roast until crisp and deep browned on the edges, turning once halfway through, about 30-40 minutes. 

Serve hot.

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