As I gear up to head to Eat Write Retreat (a fabulous food writing conference!) at the end of the month, I must complete two fun challenges. The first challenge involves appetizers and a few secret ingredients… Our group of easily excitable food bloggers was divided into four teams and we were each randomly assigned an ingredient.
Lucky me, I was assigned to Team Potato. (Luck of the Irish, perhaps?) I admittedly squealed when my four giddy children opened the big FedEx box containing, yup, potatoes! And, surprise, surprise, some OXO tools were tucked in there as well to help spice up my kitchen adventures!
|Team Brighton Getting Psyched For Team Potato!|
I know that I have mentioned before that potatoes are their own sacred food group in our house. My family has never met a potato we did not like. Potatoes keep really well in a cool, dark place. They grow very well any time of year in North Carolina. And did you know that if you eat a potato with the skin on, it has as much potassium as a banana? Bring on the potato skins!!
For this appetizer challenge, I wanted to make a tasty snack that could be easily picked up and eaten by kids or adults. Potato skins are a delicious appetizer, but they can be a little bit messy. These “smashed” potatoes are like a handheld version of potato skins! Easy to pick up and snack on – even better dipped in a tasty aioli. This amazing app was devoured in minutes by my hungry children and friends.
Ingredients for the “Smashed” Potatoes:
2 to 3 lbs. fingerling or small creamer potatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
Parmesan cheese or a similar dry, aged cheese, freshly grated
Ingredients for the Roasted Garlic Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 bulb garlic
kosher sea salt
|Freshly grated gran queso … I used the same OXO grater to zest my lemon!|
Making the “Smashed” Potatoes…
1. In a large pot of cold, salted water, add your fingerlings or creamer potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
Creamer potatoes are the potatoes that my children unintentionally dig out of the garden before they are fully grown. Actually, I am only half kidding… they really are potatoes harvested before they are fully grown! Creamer potatoes are soft-skinned and very tasty. They need very little preparation to get them ready to eat. They are a family favorite over here – not just because my children are too impatient to grow potatoes to their full size…
2. When the potatoes are fork tender, carefully remove the potatoes to a large towel to let them dry and cool off for a few minutes. When they are warm enough to “smash,” gently use the bottom part of the palm of your hand to flatten your potato. You want the skin to split but you want the potato to remain in one piece. I have also used an ice cream scoop or the back of a large spoon to flatten the potatoes.
3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray a cookie sheet with a nonstick spray. Brush both sides of the smashed potatoes with butter and lay on the cookie sheet. Potatoes can be placed closely together. Cook for 20 minutes.
4. Remove potatoes from the oven, turn the potatoes over carefully, with a spatula, and sprinkle freshly grated parmesan or a similar dry, aged cheese over the top of all the potatoes. Cook for an additional 20 minutes until the potatoes look nice and crispy. Remove from the oven and pile on a plate to serve with a fresh aioli or all by themselves.
Making the Roasted Garlic Aioli…
1. To roast a bulb of garlic, cut the top off garlic and place in a small piece of foil. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the garlic and sprinkle with kosher sea salt. Wrap the garlic in foil, put on a pan and cook at 350 degrees for about an hour. The garlic will turn a delicious, caramel color and make your house smell amazing. Let the garlic cool and then squeeze the delicious garlic out of the cloves.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and roasted garlic. Whisk together. Add additional sea salt if necessary, after taste testing.
3. Serve with “Smashed” Potatoes or your favorite crispy french fries or sweet potato wedges. Save any extra aioli in the refrigerator for snacking tomorrow… Beware – this stuff is addictive!
What is Eat Write Retreat? Two years ago, I had an opportunity to attend my first ever food writing conference out in the beautiful mountains of Asheville – Eat Write Retreat. I met amazing writers, chefs, and food photographers while getting an up-close look at the local food culture in and around Asheville. The experience was unforgettable and I knew I needed to attend again if the stars aligned… And so, the stars have aligned! At the end of May, I am happy to be heading to Philadelphia to meet new friends, reconnect with old friends and mentors, and, most importantly, spend 3 days eating, talking, and writing about food at Eat Write Retreat 2013. I will be sure to take lots of photos and keep you all posted…