smashed potatoes -or- how to make something simple more complicated

I believe this recipe initiated with ye olde Pioneer Woman, though I found it on For the Love of Cooking, via Pinterest. And it’s really more a technique than a recipe.

All you do is parboil some new potatoes (mine took 15 minutes to reach fork-tenderness stage), lay them out on a baking sheet, “smash” them open and sprinkle with olive oil and your choice of seasonings.

Which is all fine and good except for one thing: why would you get an additional utensil (i.e., potato masher) dirty when you could just cut the potatoes in half to begin with? I suppose the “smashed” look is sexier?

For my part, I first did the smashing with the flat of my chef’s knife because I really didn’t want to dirty up more stuff. This was easy, but I felt it just didn’t give me the right look.

Knife-smashed: more like roadkill

So I broke down and used the potato masher as directed. Since I was only mashing halfway though, the potatoes got stuck in there and ended up more crumbled than mashed.

Doh!

So I moved back to the knife, this time cutting little Xes in the top of each potato.

There, that’s better.

I then sprinkled generously with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika before roasting them in a hot (450-degree) oven and turning on the broiler for a minute. These little buggers sure were tasty.

But it’s not like anything magical resulted from the smashing. They tasted exactly like the potatoes I’ve been making for years, just messier. After the fact I realized that if you really wanted a good smashed up look, the textured side of a meat mallet would be a good tool. But again, what’s the point?

And just because it makes for a lovely photograph, here’s what we had with these. Garlic Balsamic Pork Tenderloin, seen here before.

So bottom line: save the smashing for the liquor cabinet.

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