Do you know any people who always plan (and make) too much food? That would be me. Usually way too much. Perhaps it’s that I have a deep-seated insecurity about running out or maybe it’s that I grew up with five siblings and learned from day one to cook in quantity. I’m not sure, but this time, I really messed up. I thought I’d made plenty of these Roasted Smashed Potatoes w/ Fresh Herb Gremolata ………. I plated the meal with generous portions, but they disappeared like hot cakes! When just about everyone wanted second helpings …………. well, let’s just say there were a few long faces around the table because, sadly, there were none left, Mother Hubbard’s cupboard was bare.
We’re posting this week from Debordieu Colony, a beautiful beach community on the South Carolina coast. It’s a wonderful time we set aside each year to enjoy family, away from all the craziness and stresses of everyday life. Life is uncomplicated here, not too many decisions to make or schedules to keep. We share cooking responsibilities and, with five little ones running under foot, we try to keep meals fairly simple, with lots of grilling and easy side dishes.
I served these Smashed Potatoes w/ Fresh Herb Gremolata one evening this week along with grilled boneless pork chops and my Farmer’s Market Salad w/ Sunny Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette. The potatoes are actually cooked twice; they’re boiled on the stovetop till tender, then smashed flat with a potato masher or flat-bottomed glass. At this point, they either go straight into the oven, till crisp and golden or can be refrigerated till later in the day, making them perfect make-ahead, company fare.
I’ve been making these yummy potatoes for years now, but decided to have some fun with them this time and scatter them with a mixed herb gremolata; just a fancy Italian name for a mix of garlic, lemon zest and herbs (traditionally it’s solely parsley).
I’m not sure if it was the potatoes, the gremolata or the combination, but they were indeed a huge hit and there were definitely not any leftovers to be found!
P.S. Here’s a few scenes from yesterday’s early morning, jammy-clad alligator hunt!
- 1 ½ pounds baby yellow or red potatoes 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- extra-virgin olive oil
- For the gremolata:
- ¼ cup fresh herbs I like to use a combination of basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme, but you can use your favorites or whatever you have available
- zest of 1 lemon finely zested
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- sea salt a generous pinch
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with at least an inch of water. Add 2 tsp. kosher salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook the potatoes until they are completely tender and can be easily pierced with a metal or wood skewer. Make sure they are cooked through, but don’t overcook. The total cooking time will be 30 to 35 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, set up a double layer of clean dish towels on your countertop. As the potatoes finish cooking, remove them individually from the water, and let them drain and sit for just a minute or two on the dish towels.
Flatten and cool the potatoes: Fold another dish towel into quarters, and using it as a cover, gently press down on one potato with a potato masher or a flat bottomed glass. Flatten it to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Repeat with all the potatoes. Don’t worry if some break apart a bit; you can still use them.
Transfer the flattened potatoes carefully to a large rimmed baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature. At this point, the pan can be covered with foil and refrigerated till later in the day.
Remove the pan of potatoes from the refrigerator, if prepared ahead. Heat the oven to 450°F. Sprinkle the potatoes with about 3/4 tsp. salt and brush liberally with olive oil. Lift the potatoes gently to make sure some of the oil goes underneath them and that they are well coated on both sides. Roast the potatoes until they’re crispy and deep brown around the edges, about 30 minutes if using a convection oven, 30 to 40 minutes with a regular oven or until golden and crisp, turning over once gently with a spatula or tongs halfway through cooking.
While potatoes are roasting, prepare the gremolata by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside till potatoes are finished.