I remember trying to make ‘smashed potatoes’ once before and it not being a very good experience. However, Cook’s Illustrated recently did a piece on smashed potatoes that took some of the guesswork out of the process. I’ve made them with baby red potatoes and Yukon golds recently, and they came out great both times.
The recipe is simple, but the instructions are a little time-intensive. Here’s everything you need:
Roasted Smashed Potatoes
- 2½ pounds baby reds or small Yukon gold potatoes (1½-2 inches in diameter)
- 3/4 cups water
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- fresh rosemary, thyme or sage for garnish
- salt & pepper to taste
The idea with this recipe is to get a crispy exterior and a creamy interior, kind of like a French-fried potato patty. To begin, move the oven racks to the top and bottom positions and preheat the oven to 500°. Place the potatoes on a baking tray and add the water. If you can’t find really small potatoes, just cut some medium-sized ones in half.
Cover tightly with foil so that the potatoes will steam. Place the potatoes in the oven on the bottom rack and let them cook for about 25 minutes.
Take them out of the oven, remove the foil (be careful of the steam), and let the potatoes cool down for a few minutes. Use a paper towel to wipe up any water that remains.
Once the potatoes have cooled down a bit, drizzle some olive oil and roll them around so that all sides are evenly coated. Space them evenly across the tray. Finally, place another baking tray on top of the potatoes and smash them down until they’re only about ½ inches thick. At this point, you can season them to your own taste. Add more olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper so that all the seasonings run into all of the cracks and depressions. I added some chopped, fresh rosemary.
Place the tray back in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes on the top rack.
Next, cook for about 25 minutes on the bottom rack.
At this point, the bottom of the potatoes should be crisp. If you want to crisp the tops a little more, turn the oven to broil and roast the potatoes for a few minutes more with the oven door cracked to keep the heating element active.
When the potatoes are done, season with a little more salt and pepper. The result should be a crispy potato cake that is still creamy in the middle. They’re great to eat on their own, but they’re even better with some garnishes. Being a football weekend, I topped them with chili, cheese and sour cream to make a high-end version of scattered, covered, and topped hash browns.
NOTE: Baby red potatoes will crisp up faster than Yukon golds, so cut down the cooking time on the bottom rack at the end. Otherwise, you’ll end up with potatoes that are really hard on the bottom. Also, feel free to add other ingredients to the tray after you’ve smashed the potatoes. Whole cloves of garlic and sliced onions would make a nice complement.