Isn't it strange that summer (here in the U.S.) has an end date? Once Labor Day has past, everyone talks about summer being "over". Done. That's it. No more beach days or white pants or bbq-ing for you! It's so bizarre. No other season has the same kinda finality surrounding it (although I wish winter did .... Oh hey! Winter is over! No more snow storms and big puffy coats for you!)
Despite the talk right now about summer being "over", it's actually still quite summery around here, and September is one of my favorite months. It's still hot outside, the ocean is the warmest it's been all year, and the nights are beyond perfect for outdoor eating. And, I will be eating outside, until I can eat outside no more.
We did a lot of bbq-ing this summer with friends and family, and these crispy potatoes were hands down the biggest hit at every meal. Earlier this spring, a good friend who's also an awesome cook made these crispy potatoes for us. Being the potato lover that I am, I was totally smitten with these guys. I HAD to make them.
Well, I made them ....... about 100 times since this spring. They are a win every single time. So much so, that I think people would be disappinted if they came over for dinner and didn't get these crispy potatoes. They are an awesome dinner party food because you can make them a day in advance, and finish them in the oven about 30 minutes before you sit down to eat. They are kind of like eating a big crunchy potato chip with a soft center. Ummmm .... yes, please.
The recipe is not challenging by any means, but there are a few tricks to getting them jussssssssst right every time. Such as, starting the potatoes out in cold water, and adding a splash of vinegar to hold the skins on, and adding a good amount of olive oil and chunky salt before roasting for flavor and all-around yum. Since potatoes are an all-seaon kind of food, you can enjoy these now, for your indian summer bbqs, but also into the colder winter months (when a hearty potato will be that much more welcome).
the best crispy smashed potatoes + shishitos and chives
If you cannot find shishitos near you, feel free to make these potatoes sans topping, or go ahead and experiment with different topping or with one of the ones I suggest below. I'd love to hear if you do!
varies .... these get devoured, but you can generally feed around 6 people with this recipe
2 lbs of small potatoes (fingerlings work great), I also like to use a mix of red and purple potatoes (if available)
a splash of white wine vinegar
1/4++ cup of extra virgin olive oil
for the toppings:
a handful of shishitos, sliced into rounds
1-2 tablespoons of grapeseed (or another high-heat neutral) oil
a handful of chives, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
other toppings + combination ideas:
sauteed onions or shallots + rosemary
garlic + thyme
tossed in a green harissa ---> recipe here
or any kind of pesto
Boil and then smash the potatoes:
- Wash the potatoes well. Place the potatoes in a large pot, and fill with cold water and a splash of vinegar.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-high heat and simmer for about 7-10 minutes, until fork tender, but still slightly firm.
- Strain the potatoes, and rinse with cold water to cool them down. Transfer them to a large baking sheet, and smash / flatten the potatoes using the back of a spatula. At this point, you can allow the potatoes to sit and come to room temperature before roasting, or keep them in the fridge until about 30-40 min before you're ready to serve. **There are theories that a chilled potato will make a crisper potato, but I haven't found it makes much of a difference than if they are still warm going into the oven.
Roast the potatoes, and satuée the shishitos (if using):
- Pre-heat the oven to 450º.
- Drizzle (drench) the potatoes in olive oil. Really make sure that they have a good coating on them. This will keep them moist and make the outside nice and crispy. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Roast the potatoes for about 30 minutes. Keep checking on them from time to time. They may need more or less depending on your oven. I like them to have a golden brown crispness to the edges.
- While the potatoes are roasting, sautee the shishitos. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Sauté the shishitos for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Set aside until the potatoes are done.
Assemble and serve:
- Once the potatoes are done roasting, transfer them to a large bowl (shallow is best so the ones on the bottom don't get crowded and soggy). Drizzle with a little more olive oil (if you like) and sprinkle the chives and the shishitos on top. Serve immediately.