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Smashed Potatoes

December 27, 2011

I make no bones about the fact that I love potatoes.  It’s creamy goodness!  Luckily, for me, my husband loves potatoes as much as I do.  We’re always looking for creative and easy ways to serve our potatoes.  We like trying new things, because the same old, same old can get boring quickly.

Searching through the internet, I saw a new potato recipe that I’d never tried before, so I figured I’d give it a shot.  Initially, when I first told my husband I was making smashed potatoes, he had no interest whatsoever.  He’d already decided to make his own dinner separate from mine.  But when these puppies came out of the oven, he couldn’t resist and had to try a couple.  He loved them so much, the next night, he asked me to make them again for dinner.  Now you know, these smashed potatoes are really that good.  Ding!  Ding! Ding!  I found a winner!

And the secret is, these potatoes are super easy to make.  And compared to other potato dishes like mashed potatoes that require items like butter and cream, these smashed potatoes are way healthier.  No butter or cream in sight.  The ingredients are simple: red potatoes (though, I’ve tried them with russett potatoes too and those work just as well), salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and olive oil.  See, I said simple!

Start with small red potatoes.  Throw them into a large pot and put the pot on the range at high heat.  We’ve got to boil the potatoes before we can smash them.

Once the water in the pot has started boiling, add some salt to the pot.  Cook the potatoes for another 10-12 minutes, or until fork tender.

When the potatoes are done, take them out of the boiling water and drain and dry them.  Take a full baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil down on the sheet so that the potatoes don’t stick.  Line your tender potatoes onto the baking sheet several inches apart from one another.  Take a potato masher, or the bottom of a heavy bottomed glass, or if you don’t mind burning your hand, just use the palm of your hand, and start smashing your potatoes.  One good push down on the glass or the potato masher and the potatoes should flatten out.  Leave well enough alone and let the potatoes be.

Next step is to take some olive oil and brush it generously over each of your smashed potatoes.  This will help your potatoes get crispy in the oven.

Fresh herbs on potatoes is always a good combination.  Rosemary and potatoes seem to go together particularly well.  When making herb roasted potato wedges, rosemary is often the go-to herb of choice.  Rosemary really has that woodsy kind of flavor to it.  In this case, since I had both fresh rosemary and thyme on had for another dish I had made, I decided to finely mince both herbs together to get a lemony, woodsy, herb and earthy flavor.

Time for some seasoning now.  You’ll need a generous amount of salt and pepper over all of the potatoes.  Don’t skimp with the salt because this is the only time you’ll get seasoning on your potatoes.  Then sprinkle the top of each potato with the finely minced rosemary and thyme.  When this roasts in the oven, you’ll get a really nice flavor to the potatoes and your place will smell heavenly.

Put the baking sheet into your pre-heated oven.  The oven will need to be set at a high temperature.  The potatoes will take about 15-20 minutes to roast and start to brown.  Remember, the potatoes are already tender from boiling them.  The purpose of putting them in the oven is to roast and brown them so they get crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.  So, that’s why you’re roasting them at high heat for a short amount of time.

When the potatoes start to brown, they’re done and you can take them out of the oven.  Serve immediately.  The potatoes will be perfectly cooked with the right combination of crispy and tender.  The flavors from the salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary will blend together nicely.  And maybe your significant other will be telling you the next day he wants smashed potatoes again for dinner!

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