Published November 1, 2010.
How do you produce spuds with mashed-potato creaminess and crackly-crisp crusts without deep frying? It’s a pressing issue.
The approach—parcooking whole potatoes, then squashing them with a masher—seems simple and straightforward, but we wanted to fine-tune each of these steps.
We wanted perfectly browned and crunchy patties that could constitute a great new potato dish recipe to add to our rotation.
Most recipes called for parcooking the potatoes by simmering them in water, but we found that that method washed away some of their flavor. We opted to give drier heat a try, so we spread our Red Bliss potatoes—which we had chosen for their moist texture, less starchy flesh, and thin skin—on a baking sheet, covered it in foil, and let them cook until tender on the oven’s bottom rack, closest to the heat element. We also added a splash of water to the pan to create even more steam. This quickly gave us creamy flesh that tasted sweet, deep, and earthy.
After a short rest (very hot potatoes crumbled apart when smashed), we drizzled the potatoes with some olive oil, then simply pressed them on the sheet tray using an efficient tool we already had in the kitchen: another baking sheet. We balanced it on top of the parcooked potatoes and then pushed down evenly and firmly. In one fell swoop, we had perfect cracked patties.
We sprinkled thyme, salt, and pepper on our smashed potatoes and added some more olive oil to ensure that it reached every nook and cranny. After another short stint on the top rack of the oven to brown and crisp the potatoes, we had a great new potato recipe to add to our repertoire.list of recipes