Making Gourmet’s Panfried Smashed Potatoes, Step by Step
Ever since this month’s Gourmet magazine showed up at The Mouse House, I kept going back to this recipe. When I found a bag of the sweetest little red bliss potatoes, I took it as a sign.
The skins are crisp, the potatoes are soft and fluffy, and it’s ridiculously fun to fry a whole smashed potato. It feels kind of wrong in that oh-so-right way. (Like that time I deep-fried a whole egg.)
Panfried Smashed Potatoes: The basic technique
These potatoes are cooked twice. First, they’re boiled until just barely cooked. Then they’re smashed and fried in olive oil ’til they’re a heavenly golden brown and have a nice crunchy skin.
If you’re not crazy about frying them (or if you overcook the potatoes and they fall apart), you can also bake them, a la The Pioneer Woman Cooks.
An important note on boiling
The original recipe notes to boil the potatoes ’til they’re almost tender. This is important.
You want them to be soft enough to smash, but not so soft that they completely fall apart. Trust me on this one. I had to do it twice. Don’t fret about undercooking them a wee bit. They’ll finish cooking when you fry them.
Here’s my step-by-step take on how to make these lovely little things�with a few tweaks
The original recipe is by Paul Grimes, and appeared in the March 2009 issue of Gourmet magazine. (Thank you, Mr. Grimes. You’re a potato genius!) I used a little more olive oil, so I pretty much shallow fried them.
I’m pretty sure I fried my potatoes in hotter oil, as mine look crunchier than the ones in the magazine and cooked in far less time (10 minutes, as opposed to 20). No matter, though. They were deeeelicious!
Dress up your potatoes any way you like
Use this as a basic recipe for technique. Here are a few ideas for other toppings:
+Sour cream + crispy bacon + shredded cheddar (for loaded potato fun)
+Craime frache + a giant poached shrimp + cracked black pepper (for a fancier appetizer)
+Hollandaise + a piece of pan-fried haddock + minced chives (for a take on fish and chips)
+Thinly sliced sirloin + grilled asparagus + balsamic reduction (for a tapas-style entree)
Or, you know, you can eat them as is.
Panfried Smashed Potatoes
8 small- to medium-sized red potatoes
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
fresh parsley, minced
freshly cracked black pepper
Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Prep your ‘taters
Set a large pot of water to boil on the stove over high heat. Grab 2 sheet pans. Leave one plain (for the potatoes when they come out of the boiling water). Line the other with paper towels (for when they come out of the oil).
Then grab your potatoes.
See those pesky eyes?
Nip them right out with a sharp little knife.
Cut as little of the potato out as you can, but be sure to get rid of any dark or discolored spots.
Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Boil the potatoes
When your water is boiling, add a little kosher salt to the water. Then drop your prepped potatoes in.
Boil the potatoes until they’re *just* tender. This will likely take about 10 minutes, but will ultimately depend on how big your potatoes are.
Test a potato by poking it with the tip of a knife. If the knife slides in fairly easily (but there’s still some resistance because it’s not totally cooked), they should be ready.
Fish the potatoes out of the water with a skimmer or slotted spoon. Set them on a sheet pan.
Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Smoosh the potatoes
With a potato masher, gently press down on each potato. Smoosh it so that it’s maybe 1/2 – 3/4 of an inch thick.
Go slowly. If you press it too flat, the potato will likely fall apart to pieces. If the masher is hard to remove from your potato, slip a paring knife right under it to loosen it.
Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Fry the potatoes
Add the olive oil to a nonstick pan. Set it on the stove over medium-high heat. Heat for a minute or two, then test your oil. If the oil starts to bubble the minute you dip a corner of potato in, it’s hot enough to fry.
When your oil is hot enough, add the potatoes to the pan. I fried mine in 2 batches of 4 each, so as not to crowd the pan (which drops the temperature of your oil, which makes the potatoes absorb more grease…).
Fry them for a few minutes like this, until they’ve developed a beautiful golden brown crust on the bottom.
After maybe 5 minutes, take a peek underneath. When they’re golden brown, flip them over.
Fry like this until the other side has a matching crust. Remove them from the pan and set them on your paper-towel-lined pan. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
Panfried Smashed Potatoes: Serve & enjoy!
When your potatoes are done, they should look about like this:
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, freshly cracked black pepper, and minced parsley. Serve hot.