The (Un)Official Best Way to Make Potatoes
Why I’ll only roast *smashed* potatoes from now on
I’m terrible at making decisions—so much so that seemingly innocent hypothetical questions like: "If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be? Or, rank bread, pasta, rice, from 1 to 3 as your favorite carb!” stresses me out. But—if I was made to choose the one and only way to cook a potato for the rest of my days, I would confidently go with roasted, smashed potatoes. It takes only two extra steps—boiling and then smashing the cooked potatoes—but these two extra steps will be responsible for changing your life… at least as far as cooking potatoes go. The pre-cooking ensures a creamy interior, while the “smashing” creates more craggy surfaces to get extra crispy.
But, when roast potatoes are this good, they shouldn’t just be served as a side. This is a recipe I love to put in the middle of the table—loaded, smashed potatoes with Greek yogurt, quick coriander pesto, and some (equally quick) pink onions thrown on top for an extra bite. It’s satisfyingly simple to throw together, looks a treat, and is vegetarian (plus, easily veganized). Here’s where to start...
Why is this technique so life changing? And, how do I do it?
I like to use small potatoes, like new potatoes, baby potatoes, or fingerlings as they are great layered and loaded on a plate for all to pick at. I wash them and put them straight into a pot with salted water—keep the skin on, trust me, it will get brilliantly crispy. You can also use regular-sized potatoes if you feel so inclined, it will just take a bit longer across all boiling, smashing, and roasting steps.
Many recipes will ask you to parboil the potatoes pre-baking, but I like to go all the way to fully cooked as I think this makes for the creamiest interior. Honestly, it’s like the silkiest mash you’ve ever tasted, with a fraction of the effort, plus a salty, greasy, crispy little potato skin mantle.
To smash the potatoes all you need to do is place your cooked, drained ’taters on a large baking sheet and then use another baking sheet (you could also use a large platter or cutting board) and press down to smash the potatoes. Drizzle your potatoes with a generous amount of olive oil and bake in the oven until deep golden brown and crispy.
Now make ‘em fully loaded
You can of course use the technique to make roasted smashed potatoes as a plain side, sprinkled with some flaky sea salt. But, if you want to make a meal of it, or are looking for a great vegetable-forward side—there are so many fun ways to load up your potatoes. I like to plate up in this order: creamy base + then potatoes + then a jazzy sauce + then garnishes. I also find this formula works well for thinking up different flavor combinations. Here are four ideas to get you started:
- Sour cream + hot sauce + bacon bits, chives, parmesan
- Aioli + Romesco sauce + toasted walnuts + parsley
- Tahini and Greek yogurt + harissa + cilantro
- Lemony creme fraiche + basil pesto + parmesan
Have you tried this smashed roasted potato technique? Let us know in the comments!
Published on March 21, 2020