Archive for November 20th, 2010

I have had this simple but tasty potato recipe in mind for a church lunch we are having in a few weeks time.  However, I felt I needed to try them out in advance so I included them at Sunday lunch this week when they were much appreciated by my visiting parents – a bit of a change from the usual roast potatoes, though equally lovely and crispy.  (I usually sprinkle my peeled par-boiled, potatoes with olive oil and sea salt anyway.)  This would certainly an easy solution for mass catering as there is no peeling involved, in fact I found that the potatoes can can be boiled in advance and kept in cold water.  They are finished off by adding the herbs and oil just before putting them in the oven to roast.  I attacked my partly cooked potatoes with the potato masher to (not too violently) crush or ‘smash’ them, thus gaining our name for them: Smashed Potatoes.  

The recipe comes from Celia who writes at one of my favourite sites: Fig Jam & Lime Cordial, where the potatoes were named ‘Splats’ by one of her friends.  She credits the recipe to Jill Dupleix who calls them Crash-Hot Potatoes.  (Jill, like Celia, comes from Australia and not unsurprisingly I have not heard of her before.  I took a look at her site and found a whole list of other good recipes: all of the ones I saw having weights, very usefully, in metric.)  They have been much written about by other food bloggers too, so I now add myself to the list of ‘converts’ and this site, ‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’, to the list of sites that sings their praises!  This time I added mixed dried Herbes de Provence with the freshly ground salt and black pepper as I wanted to keep the flavours simple to complement the marinade flavouring our Roast Pork.  Jill suggests adding either fennel or caraway seeds plus sprigs of thyme or rosemary: a great idea idea which would vary the flavour from meal to meal.  I expect there could be some other variations too, matching flavours of added herbs and spices to the meat or main course eaten: if you have tried these another way I would love to hear from you.  Just one comment: I had made these just once before and although we enjoyed them I did not leave enough time for them to fully crisp so we felt they could have been better – a mistake I made sure I did not make on this second occasion!  

I had to use halves and quarters of larger potatoes but I intend to make these again using smaller evenly sized potatoes and will post another (better) picture in due course.   

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Smashed Potatoes
Serves 4)

16 small, round potatoes, or pieces of larger potatoes (about 2-2
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp ground Sea Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper (could try Paprika or Chilli for alternative heat)
2tbsp dried mixed Herbes de Provence (Mediterranean herbs)
1 tbsp fennel or caraway seeds (original flavouring)
1 tbsp thyme or rosemary sprigs (original flavouring)

1.  If planning to cook these potatoes straight away, heat oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas 7 or even (and preferably)  230oC/450oF/Gas 8.  A good hot temperature will crisp and cook the potatoes quickly.   

2.  Scrub the potatoes and remove any blemishes but do not peel them.  Ideally choose evenly sized smallish potatoes you can leave whole, but if absolutely necessary, larger ones can be halved or even quartered.  The finished look will, of course be different though. 

3.  Bring the potatoes to the boil in a panful of salted water, turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until just about cooked but not too soft.  They should be able to be prodded with a skewer or fork without much resistance. 

4.  Drain the potatoes and if necessary, plunge into cold water to keep for a while until it is time to finish them.

5.  Turn on the oven as at No 1, if not already preheating.  Arrange the potatoes on a lightly oiled baking tray or sheet, leaving a little room between each one for them to spread. Using a potato masher flatten each potato a little, so it starts to crack open and it is about twice its original diameter.

6.  Generously drizzle over olive oil and scatter with Herbes de Provence, freshly ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper.  (Alternative herb and spice flavourings can be used, but I think that it would be a shame to omit the Sea Salt and, unless adding another hot spice, the Black Pepper.)

7.  Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until crispy and golden, gently moving them around half way through the cooking time to stop them from sticking to the baking sheet. Serve hot.  If you need to cook these at a lower temperature than indicated above then make sure you allow a longer cooking time.

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