A strange name for a dish, I know, but it was the only name I could come up with where I'd be sure these masterful spuds wouldn't be confused with any other taters. I first thought of calling them "twice cooked potatoes" because they are first boiled, then roasted, but I didn't want them to be confused with "twice baked potatoes". Next, I thought that "smashed baby potatoes" might work, but was concerned that they would be confused with a more traditional "smashed or mashed potatoes".
It wasn't until I was half way through making these bad boys that the perfect name came to me. I think I was in the process of smashing my third potato when the sound it made finally registered, and I had my name. You see, after the potatoes are boiled, they are placed between layers of a clean dish towel and pressed into flattened discs. At the moment the skin snaps it gives a pleasant "pop" sound, followed by a mellow "squish" as it's fully flattened.
So…..now that you know how these spuds were named let me tell you a bit about them. I think I first learned of this technique from a Jaime Oliver recipe a few years back, then I saw Giada De Laurentiis whip some of these up about a month ago. It was during a chat a few weeks ago with my friend Julie however, who raved that she only cooks potatoes this way now, that I finally decided I needed to try these and see what the fuss was all about.
Well, can I tell you that these are totally fuss and rave worthy little gems. Pillow soft and light inside, with a salty-crunchy exterior, these spuds redefine what a tuber can be. The technique is so easy, and the results so superb that I guarantee that these will become the go-to taters for many of you. We made ours straight-up with just some EVOO, salt and pepper to season, but by all means infuse your oil with some garlic, or toss some dried or fresh herbs on them when they roast if you like.
Cheers – Steve
- 12 baby potatoes, red or white skinned or a combination
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Scrub the potatoes well under cool water and place them in a large sauce pan, cover with two inches of water and place over high heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the flame to maintain a gentle boil and cook until the potatoes are tender to their core, but not so much that they get overcooked and their skins start to break. Test with a thin paring knife which should easily pierce the largest potato to the core, our took about 15 minutes.
- Heat your oven to 475℉ and set up a sheet tray lined with parchment.
- Dump the potatoes into a colander to drain and let them cool for a couple minutes. Working one at a time, place the potatoes on a clean dish towel, fold the towel over to cover the spud, then gently press on it with the palm of your hand until you hear the skin pop and feel the potato squish down to form a disc.
- Drizzle some EVOO on the sheet tray, lightly coating the parchment, then place each disc on the tray rolling it in the oil so that it is well coated. Drizzle the tops with a little more oil if needed, then sprinkle the spuds liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes, flipping them over at the 15 minute mark so they brown evenly on both sides. If you want to add any herbs to the potatoes, do so at the 15 minute mark so that they don't overcook and burn in the very hot oven.
- When a rich brown and crispy, pull from the oven and serve immediately.