Smashed potatoes (Aussie style?)

Smashed potato? I had never heard of the phrase until recently. Supposedly it is an Australian thing? Now, twice-baked potatoes I know. I grew up with these. Larger potatoes, baked in the oven until tender, cut in half, innards scooped out and mixed with any combination of butter, sour cream, garlic, onions, chives, peppers, bacon, cheese, and spices, then baked a second time. Wonderful. But now back to the smashed potato. I first heard of the dish from my friend Gina, who has a great blog, every day fresh with gina brown. Of course, I am living in Australia and she is living on the other side of the earth where I grew up, yet she found a supposed Australian smashed potato recipe! Nevertheless, I did a bit of searching and found a number of recipes for smashed or ‘crash hot’ potatoes. Not all of them sounded great, unfortunately. The main hits on google came up with one, two, and three. All of the recipes included parboiling the potatoes before roasting. And the last one, from Poh’s kitchen, does not seem appealing at all. Sorry, not my style. I have nothing against parboiling before roasting, and use this method at times with wonderful results, but I wanted to do something simpler, and I reckon better for the dish in question.

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I used small desiree potatoes (about 10), and kept the skin on.  After a quick wash, dry the potatoes, rub with a bit of oil, and place on a baking sheet and bake at 180 C (350 F) for 20-30 min, until fork tender. Remove from the oven and smash the potatoes flat using a potato smasher. Using a mortar and pestle (or a spoon in a bowl), mix the following in a small bowl: 2 Tb oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper. Brush or spread the herb-oil mixture onto the smashed potatoes, sprinkle a bit of cheese (sharp cheddar, and/or mozzarella, parmesan), and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese begins to brown and the edges of the potatoes are beginning to crisp. These potatoes are good, and are great re-heated for breakfast, served with eggs.

 

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