Making these is a labor of love. It's very simple and easy, but I'm not going to lie, also time consuming. From start to finish, it'll take 1 hour and 40 minutes to cook them. But it will be worth it, I promise you that. Every single person I've made these for has been amazed by how good (and simple) they are. They in turn have made them for other people, who demand to know how to do it themselves.
I adapted this recipe from Tom Douglas's "Greek Smashed Potatoes" recipe in Tom's Big Dinners. At Tom's restaurant Lola, they serve garlic smashed potatoes, which is where I first had them. They were so good that I had to find a recipe so that I could have them whenever I pleased (and wouldn't have to pay $8 for a small dish). The Greek Smashed Potatoes recipe seemed just right, with a slight adaptation to make them purely garlic.
The key to making these successfully is to choose smaller potatoes. The recipe says to use red-skinned potatoes; I've used yellow skinned ones to good effect (once they're done cooking, you can barely tell what color they started out as -- see photo above!). What doesn't work is bigger potatoes (it used to be that you couldn't even GET red-skinned potatoes that were very big; now I've seen them in a size close to a Russet!). They should be golf ball size or slightly larger; if you go bigger than that they may not cook properly in the time indicated in the recipe, which means you may not get that perfect harmonious blend of salty crispness on the outside and soft potatoey inside.
Garlic Smashed Potatoes (adapted from Tom's Big Dinners by Tom Douglas)
- 3 lbs small red-skinned potatoes (about golf ball size or slightly larger)
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic
- Wash and dry the potatoes, then put them in a roasting pan large enough to hold them, with a bit of room between each potato. Roast them in a 450F degree oven for 40-45 minutes, until just tender.
- Remove the pan from the oven, then use the bottom of a china mug to smash down each potato to about 1/2". The skins will split and the white of the potatoes will show through.
- Drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil and season generously with coarse salt and pepper. Pop back in the oven for 25 min.
- Remove the pan, flip the potatoes over with a spatula (the bottoms should be nicely browned), then drizzle with another 1/4 cup of olive oil, keeping 1 tbsp of oil in reserve. Pop back in the oven for another 25 min.
- Remove the pan again, season the second side of the potatoes with salt and pepper, and sprinkle the garlic over them. Drizzle the 1 tbsp of remaining olive oil over the potatoes. Toss to make sure seasoning is evenly distributed, then roast for a final 5 min.