I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while, and I finally got my chance! My parents were having a dinner party for 14 friends at their shore house, and I was down for the weekend and excited to help cook. First things first, my mom and I chatted about the menu.
When planning a meal, there are several considerations to keep in mind. On the plate, you would ideally find a variety in color, in temperature, in shape and size, in texture, and in flavor. Here is a sample test question from the “meal planning” unit I teach at school; “What would you add to the hamburger on your plate to make it a more appealing meal, and why? A few possible answers – a watermelon wedge, potato salad, tossed green salad, baked beans, or corn on the cob (all options would produce variety). If you mind these considerations, you’ll find it a lot easier to plan a meal.
We started with shish-kabobs (some with shrimp and pineapple, some with beef and cherry tomatoes, and a third option with chicken and peppers). Corn on the cob would be the same shape (plus it gets horribly stuck in your teeth – bad for a party), so we did sauteed corn with fresh herbs. Next, we knew we had bread coming (so a grain was superfluous) as well as a tossed green salad (so that color/health factor was covered). There was something missing – potatoes! Still a veggie, but starchy and satisfying, plus a different shape. I had JUST the recipe to try.
The potatoes got great reviews – a lot of friends asked for the recipe, which is always a good sign (while they might tell you “it was great” to be polite, they usually don’t ask for the recipe unless they really loved it).
While the directions may seem strange at first, trust it. The potatoes take about an hour to cook, but that’s “hands-off” time in which you can be doing other things. A reason this is a great summertime recipe is that the grill takes over and the oven is usually freed up. Grill your meat and veggies and bake these babies in the oven. Perf!
Smashed Baked Potatoes
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
2 lb. small red skinned potatoes (about 18), scrubbed clean
1 head garlic, broken into cloves, papery skin removed *
6-8 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1-2 tsp. kosher salt and fresh pepper
1-2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
*Tip for removing garlic skins: place garlic cloves on a plate and microwave for 30 seconds. Let cool slightly, then pop the cloves right out of the skins.
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and set a rack to the top and bottom position in your oven.
2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange potatoes and garlic evenly on pan. Pour 1 c. water into the pan and cover with foil, sealing the edges (so that you’re making a steam pouch of sorts).
3. Bake for 30 minutes on the lower rack in the oven. Remove from oven, remove foil, and let cool 10 minutes.
4. Pour 2-3 tbsp. of the olive oil over the potatoes and roll them around so that the oil coats them completely.
5. Place 1 clove (or cut in half depending on how much garlic you have) on top of each potato and make sure they are evenly spaced.
6. Take a second baking sheet of equal size and spray the bottom of the sheet with nonstick spray. Press the pan (sprayed side down) against the potatoes, smashing them to about 1/2 in to 1 in. thickness (the garlic should be smashed into the potato).
7. Drizzle each potato liberally with the remaining olive oil (using more if you want), and top with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
8. Bake in top rack of oven for 15 minutes, then move to bottom rack for and bake for another 15 minutes.
9. Let cool slightly and serve.
It was a feast and made for very happy, verry VARIED, plates