My family is seriously addicted to Crispy Smashed Baby Potatoes. In fact, whenever I make these potatoes a good portion of them never reach the serving platter because they are snatched right off the baking sheets as soon as they come out of the oven!
I’ve been making this dish ever since I saw the recipe in the January 2007 issue of Fine Cooking magazine. My version includes bacon bits and a simple recipe for chive sour cream that can be dolloped on the potatoes. I also use a different method of preparation for flattening the potatoes and have discovered a trick for making them extra, extra crispy. (See the last paragraph of this post for the trick.)
A little bit of olive oil on the bottom of the potatoes as they roast will ensure that the potato skins are crispy and flavorful. Rather than put 12 individual ½ teaspoon drops of olive oil on each baking sheet, which would be cumbersome, simply drizzle 3 (horizontal) lines of olive oil on the pans and lay the potatoes, evenly spaced (4 to a row) on top of each line of olive oil.
The Fine Cooking article suggests that you flatten the potatoes using a dish towel. I found this method messy and awkward as bits of potato got stuck to the dish towel and some even broke apart completely. I’ve seen other variations of this recipe that use a fork or a potato masher to flatten the potatoes – those methods work better but the potatoes usually still get stuck in the tines of the fork/masher. The best method to smash down the potatoes is to use something with a flat bottom that is about 3 inches in diameter, such as a glass. (I use a meat pounder as pictured, but a glass will work equally well – just make sure the bottom is flat with no indentations.) Then, as you are pulling up from flattening each potato, slip a knife underneath to loosen any bits that are stuck to the bottom. This method ensures that all the potato meat stays put and minimizes the mess created when little clumps of potato are scattered everywhere.
Once you’ve flattened all the potatoes brush the tops with olive oil. Mop up the excess olive oil in between the potatoes and use that to brush the potatoes tops along with any remaining olive oil. Then season with salt and pepper before transferring to the oven to roast.
Crispy Smashed Baby Potatoes taste remarkably like potato skins without the cheddar cheese but they’re a lot more elegant. They’re great as a side dish or appetizer.
Chive Sour Cream is a great accompaniment to these little potato gems but they’re also fantastic when served with Roasted Garlic Ketchup.
Crispy Smashed Baby Potatoes are easy enough to make for casual weeknight meals yet fancy enough to serve to guests. Once you get the technique down you’ll be making these all the time. For regular weeknight meals I usually don’t include the bacon bits because it adds an extra step. And of course if you’re vegan you’ll want to leave out the bacon. Even without the bacon you will be bowled over at how good these are!
The recipe as written produces very crispy potato skins but if you’re one of those people who likes certain foods extra, extra crispy then here’s a trick: after the potatoes have roasted for 30 minutes turn off the oven and leave them in there for another 15-20 minutes, checking them every 5 minutes or so to be sure they are not burning. The longer you leave them in the oven, the crispier they’ll become. A few times I’ve left them in the oven for more than 20 minutes and they ended up tasting like uber thick, crunchy, gourmet potato chips. It doesn’t get much better than that!
- 24 baby potatoes - about 1 to 2 lbs. in total depending on the size of the potatoes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 2 slices (about ½ ounce) cooked bacon, crumbled
- CHIVE SOUR CREAM
- 1 cup/8 ounces sour cream
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh or freeze dried chives
- Combine the sour cream, salt, and chives. Set aside in the fridge while you make the potatoes
- Cook the potatoes in simmering water in a large shallow saucepan until tender but not overcooked (10-15 minutes for small potatoes that are 1 ounce or less – a little longer for larger ones). Drain the potatoes and let them cool for a few of minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Drizzle or brush a thin layer of olive oil on the sheet pans and place 12 potatoes (4 in each row), evenly spaced, on the sheet pans.
- Using a glass, or something else with a flat bottom, smash down each potato to a thickness of about ½ inch. Brush the tops of the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle the with salt and pepper.
- Roast on the bottom racks of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.
- As soon as the potatoes come out of the oven sprinkle on the crumbled bacon and serve with Chive Sour Cream.
Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.
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