Compared to more glamorous vegetables like the artichoke served only on special occasions, or the foo-foo French haricot vert, potatoes are hum-drum and I’d even venture to say, somewhat disrespected. Compared to their cousins the tomatoes, (yes, it’s true) who have many detractors because of their slimy innards, potatoes are dull, predictable, reliable and like-able. Available year-round, a storage life of….well, just about forever, and now available in a lovely purple hue with infintely improved bling, potatoes deserve more respect.
I ask you, what other vegetable that stands alone as a dish to the table, can be prepared so many different ways? None!
Plus, and this is a BIG plus, I know of no other veggie that is the culinary equivilant of your favorite blankie when you were four years-old – taking the sting out of everyday knock-downs and working as a soul-salve after a crappy day. Mac and cheese is a close second; but I’m pretty darn sure there’s nary a vegetable to be found!
Perfect with any roasted meat from pork loin to meatloaf, these smash fries are easy to prepare and offer a huge WOW factor when it comes to flavor. I stay away from frying just about everything, in part because of the added calories and, truth be told, mostly because I don’t like the clean up. “Fried” in the oven, these offer crunchy outsides, creamy insides, and are just oily enough that you feel you’re indulging.
I always use olive oil for this recipe. Even though olive oil adds calories, it does have a few heart-healthy benefits, so ….you know…foodie rationalization :)
- 2 pounds small red skin, Yukon gold, or other waxy potatoes
- 6 tablespoons of high quality olive oil (seasoned oil would be perfect for this dish)
- 4 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite dried herb or any combination of dried herbs totalling 1 tablespoon
- 3 tablespoons of your favorite fresh herbs in any combination, torn if using large leaves such as basil or sage
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 º.
- If potatoes are larger than about one inch in diameter, cut to this size – leaving skins intact.
- Place potatoes on a large, flat, plate or bowl and mist or sprinkle with water and cover.
- Microwave potatoes on high for three minutes, or until soft.
- While potatoes are steaming, prepare a low edged baking sheet by coating with 3 tablespoons of oil.
- Remove potatoes from microwave and transfer to baking sheet.
- With a heavy bottomed glass, flat bottomed wine bottle, or other “smushing” object, flatten each potato.
- Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the potatoes.
- Sprinkle with herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Bake on bottom rack for about fifteen to twenty minutes, or until the bottom of the potatoes are browned and crisp.
- Flip potatoes, and bake for another fifteen to twenty minutes until tops are browned and crisp.
- Depending on the size of your potatoes, you may need two baking pans. Do not crowd potatoes, or they won’t crisp as well. The idea is for them to be crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside….mmmm.
- Serve as is, or with sour cream, salsa, sprinkled cheese, etc., etc., etc….the possibilities are endless!