I read somewhere once that, if you had to choose one food – and only one food – to eat for the rest of your life, it should be a potato. Apparently, a potato can provide enough nutrition to sustain a person for quite a while and, from where I’m sitting, that’s perfectly fine. I absolutely love a potato – any way you can think to make one, I’ll take it…mashed, roasted, baked, seasoned, hasselbacked…and don’t even get me started on waffle fries.
When it comes to potatoes, my one hard-and-fast criteria is a crispy skin. Unless we’re talking about silky smooth mashed potatoes, a cripsy skin on a ‘tater is absolutely crucial, and that’s why I love these smashed potatoes. They cook pretty much completely before you even pop them in the oven, and so all you’re focused on when you get them cooking is making sure the skins get nice and brown and crispy before you serve ’em up.
I typically make these without much additional seasoning or extra stuff going on, but they’re actually very versatile little discs of deliciousness and you can add pretty much whatever you like. The obvious addition here would be to load these babies up as you would a jacket potato with cheese, bacon, sour cream and chives, but I’ve found that I like these best without a ton of toppings. That being said, I’ve been contemplating a bleu cheese and caramelized onion version that I could see changing my my cheese-less smashed potato philosophy in the very near future. However you decide to prepare them, you can use the basic cooking method below to get you going. Happy smashing!
Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- 12-16 small potatoes red, white or a combo is fine here
- olive oil
- garlic flakes optional
- parsley optional, as garnish
Clean your potatoes by rinsing them under running water and scrubbing any bits of dirt from the surface.
Pop the potatoes in a large stock or soup pot with a tight fitting lid and cover the potatoes in water by about an inch. Stick the lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil. Boil the potatoes for 12-15 minutes, until fork tender.
Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 200FAN.
When the potatoes are very fork tender, drain them and then allow them to cool for 3-5 minutes, until they're no longer too hot to handle.
Pop the potatoes on to an oiled baking sheet about an inch and a half apart and then use a potato masher or the bottom of a glass or jar and smash the potatoes until the skin breaks and the potato is flat, but not completely smushed. You want the tops of the potato discs to have a good amount of texture. Note: It's important to oil the baking sheet to maximize crispiness on both sides – I use olive oil.
Season the potatoes however you like at this point. I usually opt for a classic and simple combo of salt, pepper and garlic flakes (garlic salt). I generously sprinkle each potato with a bit of seasoning, there's no exact amount here.
Drizzle olive oil on top of the potatoes (be generous, but don't drown them) and then pop them in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until they're very crispy and browned on the top. Depending on your oven and how many potatoes you've got on the tray, they may need a few more minutes to get extra crispy!
When they're done, just before serving them, sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over the top, or any other herbs you like – dill would be great here. Enjoy piping hot!