From America's Test Kitchen Season 11: Great Grilled Roast Beef
Crispy smashed potatoes are the best of both worlds, delivering mashed potato creaminess with the crackling crisp crust of roasted potatoes.
The technique looked simple and straightforward. Skin-on spuds are parcooked in seasoned water, drained, and squashed just shy of an inch thick. Then the potatoes are oiled, and cooked hot enough (either panfried on the stovetop or spread out on a baking sheet in the oven) to render the roughened edges and torn skin browned and crispy and the interior flesh creamy and sweet. But parcooking the potatoes (waxy, thin-skinned Red Bliss) in water diluted their flavor, so they tasted flat, rather than rich and earthy.
To fix the flavor problem and streamline the cooking method, we turned to one pan to get the job done —a baking sheet. A baking sheet’s roomy cooking surface allowed us to easily prepare potatoes for four at once, while panfrying the potatoes would mean frying in fussy batches. To soften the potatoes, we spread them out on the baking sheet, added a little water, covered the pan with foil, and baked them until tender. To smash all the potatoes at once, we used a second baking sheet, which we simply pressed evenly and firmly on top of the pan of parcooked potatoes. To crisp the potatoes we opted for olive oil to coat the baking sheet (and later drizzle over the broken spuds). The result? A welcome addition to the potato rotation: browned and crunchy potato patties, full of deep, earthy flavor.
Serves 4 to 6
This recipe is designed to work with potatoes 1½ to 2 inches in diameter; do not use potatoes any larger. It is important to thoroughly cook the potatoes so that they will smash easily. Remove the potatoes from the baking sheet as soon as they are done browning—they will toughen if left too long. A potato masher can also be used to “smash” the potatoes.