Is there anything better than potatoes? I like them mashed, I liked them made into fries, I like them sliced on top of a cottage pie. I like them here, I like them there, I like them like them everywhere. I especially like those adorable little baby ones…you know the ones I mean. The little tiny red and white ones, the ones that make it possible for you to eat multiple potatoes at the same meal and still feed kind of virtuous. Kind of. Hey, they are vegetables! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
So besides mashing them up with lots of butter and cream, which I completely concede is the absolute best way on earth to prepare a potato, I think I just stumbled upon the next best approach to potato heaven. It’s completely easy, completely delicious, and only involves four things. Potatoes (natch). Olive oil. Coarse salt. And this…
Now, I admit that finding malt vinegar can be a bit of a challenge. I actually found mine in the international foods section of my supermarket, in there with the Cadbury chocolate and the really good English breakfast tea…but if you get really desperate you can click here. And if THAT doesn’t work, you can use regular old cider vinegar. It will be almost as good.
Take those cute little potatoes and boil them up in salted water until they are tender, about 20 minutes or so. Drain them, and now comes the fun part. Put them in groups of three or four on a clean dishtowel and fold it over. Now take a potato masher or a can of tomatoes or whatever you have that is heavy and flat, and press down gently on each potato until they flatten up just slightly. Now transfer them all to a cookie sheet, brush them with a little olive oil and bake ’em until they are just a little crispy on the outside.
When they are out of the oven, toss them with that vinegar and sprinkle on some coarse salt…and then have an internal argument with yourself about whether these are maybe even better than those mashed potatoes that have always been in first place in your heart. It’s a conundrum for sure.
- 1 1/2 pounds small round or fingerling potatoes
- Coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup malt vinegar
- In a medium pot, bring potatoes to a boil over high in salted water. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes; drain. Place a folded dish towel on a work surface and place a potato inside. Gently smash potato so that it is flattened but still in one piece (edges will split). Repeat with remaining potatoes.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Place potatoes on sheet and brush tops with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake until crisp and golden, 35 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Remove from oven, toss with vinegar, and season with salt.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart